Cornelia Parker

Born: 1956; Cheshire, England

Studio: London, England

Gloucestershire College of Art & Design, England;
Wolverhampton Polytechnic, England;
Reading University, England
Video Interview here

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For several years, Parker has been working on a project to send a meteorite back into space. In anticipation of this event, but having not yet managed to defy earth’s gravitational pull, she has been making a series of meteorite landings.

These landings have taken various forms: in 'Meteorite Lands in Birmingham’s Bullring', a meteorite that fell in China in 1516 was ground up and inserted in a firework display to land again in a shower of sparks; in 'At the Bottom of this Lake Lies a Piece of the Moon 2000', a lunar meteorite was secretly thrown into a lake in Boston in the middle of the night. The next morning cast aluminium signs appeared confirming the fall.

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In 'Meteorite Lands in the Middle of Nowhere', Cornelia Parker has made a new series of landings. These consist of hits and misses made by heating a 400 year old iron meteorite until glowing hot and then using it to burn mythic locations on maps of the American South.

Parker’s installations and sculptures are known internationally for their complex, often darkly humorous, ironic style. She transforms familiar, everyday objects to investigate the nature of physical matter, and stages interventions with famous historical artworks to reinterpret private and public perception and value. Her fascination with the extreme transformations wrought by violent processes sees her subjecting everyday objects (a wooden shed, brass musical instruments) to steamrollering, shooting, pushing from cliffs, and exploding.


Some of her most noted exhibitions and works include The Distance (A Kiss with String Attached) (2003), The Maybe, in collaboration with Tilda Swinton (1995), and Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1988-9). Parker has had numerous solo exhibitions in the UK, Europe, and the United States, at the Serpentine Gallery, London (1998), ICA Boston (2000), the Galeria Civica de Arte Moderne in Turin (2001), the Kunstverein in Stuttgart (2004), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California (2005), the Modern Museum at Fort Worth, Texas (2006) and Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima Peru (2008).

Parker’s work is in many international museum collections, including amongst others The Tate Gallery, MOMA, and The Metropolitan Museum NY. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from The University of Wolverhampton (2000), The University of Birmingham (2005), and the University of Gloucestershire (2008). 2010 saw Parker both elected to the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and receiving an OBE.


For Plinth Ikon 50, Parker has created a limited edition black enamel ‘Stop’ sign. She says,

“This sign is based on a photograph I took of a battered parking notice on a 60’s council estate in N1. The signs are ubiquitous in London, displayed on all the estates of the period. Isolated from its context the instruction can refer to anything you want it to. Stop eating, Stop drinking, Stop smoking, Stop thinking, Stop worrying, Stop.

The fact it is made in enamel means it has a certain authority commanding you to submit, (or to ignore if that is what you usually do to signs!) The black enamel encroaches on the white word, semi-submerged it suggests the viewer is perhaps leaving it a little too long to respond.”

Buy Parker's work here.