Object Image

Explosion Drawing

Cornelia Parker is best known for her installations consisting of clusters of objects hanging in mid-air, giving the impression of explosions suspended in time. Here she continues that idea by layering acrylic glass sheets covered with splattered matter to create a frozen image of movement through space. By using the word ‘drawing’ in the title, but substituting the manual dexterity normally implied by that term with a more spontaneous method, Parker presents an expanded idea of what drawing can be.

[above text from Middlesbrough Collection Show, 2018.]

Arguably most well known for her exploded shed, Cornelia Parker’s explosion drawing demonstrates one of the most important themes of her practice. She has been known to squash, stretch, explode, suspend and even throw objects off cliffs to create her artwork. Primarily a sculptor, a lot of her work is created around an interest in finding things that are damaged and putting them back together. The explosion drawing captures this process. The three layers of explosion are suspended over each other, as if they had only just been thrown at the acrylic base. This piece acts as a record of the explosion, making permanent what would usually only be seen for a second. She has said herself that “I resurrect things that have been killed off... My work is all about the potential of materials.” Here we can see this statement in action, she has captured a moment which otherwise would have been ‘killed off’ and gone forever. The materials which Parker has used are also suggestive of the title ‘Explosion’ - charcoal, sulphur and saltpetre. Both sulphur and saltpetre are used to make fireworks, so this drawing not only shows a moment of explosion but could also cause an explosion itself.

Purchased through the Contemporary Art Society Special Collection Scheme with Lottery funding from Arts Council England

2001
Charcoal, sulphur and saltpetre on acrylic glass

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