Cornelia Parker at the MCA, Jan 2020

Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, MCA

I had seen her most famous work, known as the exploding shed, a few times before at the Tate, but this installation seemed more entrancing. She collected bric-a-brac from op shops, and friends donated bits and pieces, but a shame it wasn’t an old man’s shed. A tiny portion of space /place that was once a site of refuge and dreams. It would probably have been untidy, and without many object of interest, but would have had an individual’s imprint. One new bit of information – I was told the British army let her push the button.

Thirty pieces of Silver I had seen before, but I enjoyed the pooled silver plate. Parker comments that the silver plate is old fashioned, but squashed and pooled they become delicate and beautiful.

A trombone caught my eye. and I thought that would make an interesting sound piece, a trombone with the the life being squeezed out of it.

She is an impressive conceptual artist, who says, ‘I find the pieces of silver have much more potential when their meaning as everyday objects has been eroded.’

A factory creates 40 million poppies a year, punched from rolls of red paper. Of course,Parker is not interested in the poppies but their absence. She has layered the waste in a beautiful tent-like poppy room.  (The friendly attendant said it was a nightmare to erect, I think he said it took 3 weeks. I was surprised it held together, so he let me feel a sample of the paper material (which I had forgotten) that was locked away.

Cornelia Parker, War Room, 2015, Poppy holes, a reminder of the lives lost.

In 2014 the Tower of London marked the centenary of the outbreak of The First World War with Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper. 888,246 ceramic poppies  filled the castle moat, each poppy representing a British military fatality during the war.

This work of public worship an antithesis to the twisted ideas (in the best sense) Parker has. Afterwards, all of the poppies were sold, raising millions of pounds for service charities.

MCA lift view,Circular Quay, Sydney

MCA lift view, interior