Cornelia Parker in Conversation with Richard Cork

The Eye of the Storm

Tuesday 6 November 2012
17.30 - 18.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

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Cornelia Parker, The Distance (a kiss with string attached) 2003Cornelia Parker, The Distance (a kiss with string attached) 2003Speaker(s): Cornelia Parker and Richard Cork.

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£7 (one price only). Book online here: (An automatic email of confirmation will be sent to you – if you do not receive this email, it means your booking has failed. Please contact

Courtauld staff/students (£2): tickets available to purchase from Student Union office.

Organised by:
Professor Caroline Arscott.

Visitors to the 1997 Turner Prize exhibition were confronted by Cornelia Parker’s arresting installation. Deftly and poetically, she suspended in a vertical downpour the scorched fragments of a Texas baptist church struck by lightning. But many of her major works are the outcome of destruction initiated by the artist herself. In 1988 she asked a steamroller driver to flatten 1,000 pieces of silverware carefully laid out in a curving line. Then Parker picked them up and set about making an installation from the squashed remains. Her most celebrated work, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, is even more dramatic. With expert help from the British army, she blew up a shed whose shattered contents were then transformed into a suspended masterpiece which threw shadows on the surrounding walls. But aggression is always countered by dry humour in her work. And the fragments achieve an alternative beauty of their own as they float and spin, like something resurrected, in the air.

Richard Cork is an award-winning art critic, historian, broadcaster, exhibition curator, and former Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge University and Senior Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Four volumes of his critical writings on modern art were published by Yale in 2003, and his new book is 'The Healing Presence of Art: A History of Western Art in Hospitals’.

Further information:

For some years Cornelia Parker's work has been concerned with formalising things beyond our control. In containing the volatile and making it into something that is quiet and contemplative like the 'eye of the storm'. Through a combination of visual and verbal allusions, her work triggers cultural metaphors and personal associations, allowing the viewer to witness the transformation of the most ordinary objects into something compelling and extraordinary.

Nominated for the Turner Prize in 1997, Cornelia Parker has became known for her installations and interventions, including Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991 (Tate Modern) where she suspended the fragments of a garden shed, blown up for her by the British Army, and The Maybe, a collaboration with actress Tilda Swinton, at the Serpentine Gallery in 1995. In 2003 she wrapped Rodin’s Kiss with a mile of a string to make a new work The Distance (a kiss with string attached) for her contribution to the Tate Triennial.

She has had recent solo exhibitions at Baltic, Gateshead (2010), the Whitechapel Gallery laboratory (2008) Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2007) and the Museo De Arte de Lima, Peru (2008). Her work was included in the 4th Guangzhou Triennial 2012, On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century, MoMA, New York 2010, 16th Sydney Biennale (2008) and in the 8th Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2007). She has works in the Tate Collection, MoMa NY, and in numerous public and private collections in Europe and the USA. She is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London.

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