Cornelia Parker – The Artist That Makes Art Through Destruction
By: Grace Liu
Cornelia Parker is a British artist that makes art by running things over, blowing things up, and wrapping sculptures with string. She first started to make famous pieces of art in the 1980s and in 1991, she got the British Army to blow up an old garden shed.
Cornelia Parker grew up in a household with a physically abusive father and had to milk cows and clean stables instead of playing. She would throw coins onto a railroad and watch as the trains crushed the coins into something more interesting. This sparked her imagination and when she got older, she would create a lot of interesting, contemporary artwork.
One of her pieces, Thirty Pieces of Silver, which she made from 1988-1989 was made up of more than 1,000 silver items which she flattened using a steam roller.
Parker loved the disoriented figures and the shadows that it cast. "I like shadows and things that are shiny, the opposite of shadows," she tells BBC Culture. "I've always liked nocturnes. The first time I really used lights was my exploded shed. I wanted to make a work with a light source. It's linked to explosion – the flash – so that's where the light first appeared.”
Parker’s best-known work is Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, made in 1991. It is made of bicycles, garden tools, paint pots, toys, and more. There is also a lightbulb in the middle that makes the figure cast ghostly silhouettes. Although, Parker’s interest in disoriented figures began when she was a small child, when she was asked about the shadows, she said, "Oh, that's from my cave-dwelling days, my Plato's Cave days," the artist answers with a laugh.
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