Cornelia Parker was born in Cheshire, England in 1956. Between 1980 and 1982, she attended University of Reading to study Fine Art and is now based in London where she lives and works.
Cornelia Parker is a sculptor and installation artist. Her work involves the manipulation, deconstruction and rereading of ‘everyday’ objects. With a strong rooting into the history of such things, there is also a common thread of violence that underlies her work. Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991) is one of Parker’s most famous early works. A shed full of garden implements was placed in Chisenhale Gallery before being removed and exploded in a controlled blast carried out by the British Army. The fragments were then brought back into the gallery and suspended from the ceiling and lit from a single bulb in order to create dramatic shadows, as if to recreate the split second moment before the blast. As well as blowing things up, Parker has flattened a thousand silver objects for Thirty Pieces of Silver (1988-9), fired a pearl necklace from a gun into a suit for the work One Day This Glass Will Break (1995) and sliced through objects with the guillotine that once beheaded Marie Antoinette, the infamous Queen of France who was convicted of treason. Another of her famous, and more contemplative works, The Maybe (1995), involved displaying actress Tilda Swinton sleeping within a vitrine at the Serpentine Gallery, London.
Meteorite lands….(1998) are part of a series of works created as part of Parker’s ongoing fascination with meteorites. Each work was made using a found piece of meteorite from Namibia, called Gibeon Meteorite, that dates back to 1836. This piece of rock was then heated and placed on enlarged maps of the UK, commonly known as A to Z’s. The placing of the rock in each of the works is different with the locations underneath representing some well known, as well as lesser known, landmarks. As the rock is removed, just a charred edged hole remains, revealing the burnt, fragile layers of paper. In this way, Parker evokes an apocalyptic sensation where the meteor encapsulates a fear of the unknown and highlights our helplessness against the forces of nature.
In 1997, Cornelia Parker was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Recent solo shows include BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 2010; Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2008; Frith Street Gallery, 2008 and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2007. Major group shows include Days Like These, Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London, 2003 and the British Art Show, McLellan Galleries, Glasgow; Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds; Hayward Gallery, London, 1990.