British sculptor Cornelia Parker is fascinated with real-world processes that mimic cartoon “killings” and “deaths,” such as steamrolling, shooting things full of holes, falling from cliffs, and explosions. Parker works with a variety of found objects, including silverware and marching band instruments, which she crushes, stretches, and suspends. She has also blown up structures, such as a garden shed, whose parts she then makes into a mobile that is hung from the gallery ceiling. Obviously, humor is involved, but at its core, Parker’s work is a process of destruction, resurrection, and reconfiguration. After carrying out a violent “killing,” Parker arranges and installs the ordinary objects in such a way that they are reborn. Without exception, the transformation is compelling and beautiful.
Parker was born in Cheshire, England, and currently lives and works in London. She completed her MFA in 1982 at Reading University and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2000 from the University of Wolverhampton. Her works have been exhibited throughout Europe and the United States, including solo exhibitions at Galleria Civica D’Arte Moderna, Turin; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Chicago Arts Club; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. She has also been included in numerous group exhibitions, such as Days Like These: 2003 Tate Triennial in London. In 1997, Parker was on the short list for the Tate Turner Prize, and that same year, she was an international artist-in-residence at ArtPace, San Antonio. Her work is held in many collections, including those of the British Museum, Tate Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin.