Cornelia Parker, best known for her large-scale installations, she is fascinated by the physical properties of objects and materials, and their histories. For her first solo exhibition at Alan Cristea Gallery, Parker presents a new body of work that breathes new life into found objects. She is exploring ideas of the positive versus negative, collapsing time and the compression of three-dimensions into two. These new works are on public display from 12 October – 7 November.
Parker’s art is about destruction, resurrection and reconfiguration. Process is important; she frequently transforms objects by using seemingly violent techniques such as shooting, exploding, squashing, cutting, spitting and burning. Through these actions she both physically alters the object and she herself becomes an active participant in the development of its story.
For a new series of work Parker uses the photogravure process. Inspired by Fox Talbots’ first photographic images, she placed ordinary objects directly on the plate, exposing them to ultra violet light, so that they act as a photographic positive. A light bulb, a tower of glasses, a jug spilling ice cubes, a Halloween banner (pictured), become spectral still lives captured on paper. Their volume is described by their ability to blot out or refract light; they become literal shadows of their former selves.
Parker continues this exploration using a group of found glass photographic negatives of antique silverware, originally produced for a 1960’s Spink auction catalogue. Exposed to the plate in their original glassine bags, the negatives appear as dimensional objects in their own right but trapped in a two dimensional space. Parker has used found objects in her work since the 1980s, and silver has been a material she has been repeatedly drawn to, candelabras and coffee jugs that previously adorned someone’s dining table, now outlive their owners and continue their story through Parkers interventions. The photogravures of the glass negatives (Thirty Pieces of Silver, 2015) hark back to an early work by Parker, Thirty Pieces of Silver, (1988-89), which comprised of over a thousand pieces of silver plate flattened by a steamroller and suspended on wires hovering above a gallery floor.
Some of the prints by Parker are made up of layers of blots and spatters, created by her spitting a mouthful (shot) of tequila directly on to a prepared plate. Creating a kind of ‘action painting’, she cross-pollinates the gestures of abstract expressionist techniques with punk. The resulting photogravure freezes a moment in time, and the once repellent act of spitting produces abstract forms that are both compelling and beautiful.
Cornelia Parker: One Day This Glass Will Break – Alan Cristea Gallery – 12 October to 14 November 2015