In order for something to be ‘found’, it has to at some point in its history been ‘lost’ – Cornelia Parker
Cornelia Parker has curated ‘Found,’ a major new exhibition of contemporary art at London’s Foundling Museum, opening on 27th May and running until 4 September. Parker has invited over sixty outstanding artists from a range of creative disciplines to contribute either a new or existing piece of work, or an object they have found and kept for its significance, for a major exhibition opening in spring 2016. Her intention is to create a “riveting collective cacophony” which will be displayed throughout the Museum, interacting with historic works in the permanent Collection and with each other. Her inspiration has in part been taken from the Museum’s collection of tokens – small objects left by mothers with their babies as a means of identification should they ever return to the Foundling Hospital to claim their child.
Participating artists include: Ron Arad RA, Phyllida Barlow RA, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Deacon RA, Tacita Dean RA, Jeremy Deller, Brian Eno, Antony Gormley RA, Mona Hatoum, Thomas Heatherwick RA, Christian Marclay, Mike Nelson, Laure Prouvost, David Shrigley, Bob and Roberta Smith RA, Wolfgang Tillmans RA, Edmund de Waal, Marina Warner and Rachel Whiteread.
Among the artists contributing to the exhibition are over twenty Royal Academicians, echoing the role that the Foundling Hospital played in the development of the Royal Academy. Founded in 1739 to care for babies at risk of abandonment, the Foundling Hospital was supported by the leading artists of the day, many of whom donated work, thanks to the revolutionary involvement of the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel. The Royal Academy’s origins can be traced to the collective mobilisation of artists and the promotion of British art that took place at the Hospital during the eighteenth century.
Reflecting on the Foundling Museum’s heritage, FOUND is Parker’s response to her 2014 Hogarth Foundling Fellowship, a biennial scheme that enables three creative individuals to devise a project that animates the relationship between philanthropy, creativity and children’s welfare.
The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery, and through a regular programme of events and exhibitions celebrates the ways in which artists of all disciplines have helped improve children’s lives for over 275 years.
The Foundling Hospital, which continues today as the children’s charity Coram, was established in 1739 by the philanthropist Captain Thomas Coram, as ‘a hospital for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children’. Instrumental in helping Coram realise his vision were the artist William Hogarth, who encouraged all the leading artists of the day to donate work, and the composer George Frideric Handel, who gave annual benefit concerts of the Messiah. In doing so, they created London’s first public art gallery and set the template for the way that the arts could support philanthropy.
Coram has been creating better chances for children since 1739. They help children and young people today through their pioneering work in adoption, parenting support, housing support, alcohol and drug education, creative therapies and championing legal rights in the UK and overseas. www.coram.org.uk
Cornelia Parker was born in Cheshire in 1956. She studied at the Gloucestershire College of Art and Design and at Wolverhampton Polytechnic before receiving her MA (Fine Arts) from the University of Reading in 1982. Her first major solo exhibition, Thirty Pieces of Silver, took place at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham in 1988. In 1997 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize and in 2010 she was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts and became an OBE.
Parker’s work is held in numerous collections worldwide including Tate, MoMA, the British Council, The Pompidou, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Yale Center for British Art. She has taken part in many exhibitions internationally including a 2015 retrospective at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, The Whitechapel Gallery, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Serpentine Gallery. International exhibitions include the 2014 Gwangju Biennale, 2013 Venice Biennale, and 2008 Sydney Biennale. Parker was commissioned by Terrace Wires in collaboration with HS1 and the Royal Academy of Arts to make One More Time for St Pancras International Station, London in 2015. In the same year she also made Magna Carta (An Embroidery), A commission by the Ruskin School of Art in partnership with the British Library. Her site-specific installation for the Roof Garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York opened in May 2016.