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Cornelia Parker made art by blowing stuff up

By: Austin Fang

The Tate Britain in London, England has recently released an exhibit featuring famous artist Cornelia Parker’s best pieces of art.

Parker is a unique artist; her style isn’t like many other sculptors. She loved to use explosives and steamrollers to create magical artwork.

Parker was one of the three children raised by a physically abusive father in a smallholding in Cheshire, England. As a kid, she loved to put coins into train tracks and watch the passing trains roll over the coins. This hobby soon blossomed into a masterful career.

“Since the late 1980s, Parker has produced some of the most arresting works in contemporary art by harnessing everything from plastic explosives to steamrollers, snake venom to the very blade of the guillotine that lopped off the head of Marie Antoinette.” said journalist Michael Chuang in an article in BBC Culture.

There are many features that make Parker’s work unique, but one of them that sticks out is re-enactment. In her sculpture, The Kiss, she wrapped the sculpture in a mile-long of string, re-enacting many other artists who wrap a mile-long string around their sculptures.

A famous painting by Parker, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, made in 1991, was made when she asked the British Army to explode a garden shed so she could create the magnificent piece of artwork.

The Tate Britain, an art museum in London, created an exhibit that showcases nearly 100 of Parker’s sculptures, artwork, drawings, films, and photographs.

"Everything just sort of weaves together," Parker said in BBC culture, giving consideration to her artwork all in one place. "The Tate owns all my major works, so they just had to get them out of the old archive.”

Parker famously stated: “I don't want it all to be pretty - it's a combination of loss and gain. Things are born, live, and hang in limbo. That's what life's about.”


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