Cornelia Parker is a celebrated contemporary British artist whose work explores the secret history and meaning of the objects and environment around us.

Jerusalem (2015) is one of a series of works in which Parker has made casts of the cracks between city pavement slabs, a process she describes as an attempt to ‘record their contours, occupy their territory’. For this piece Parker poured latex into the cracks of a pavement in the contested area of East Jerusalem. Once the cast was set she lifted it out and brought it back to Britain where it was cast in bronze so the work now represents a piece of that occupied territory – both symbolically and literally – wherever it rests. In Manchester its title has additional connotations for its link to William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’, a poem that refers to the ‘dark Satanic mills’ for which the city was notorious. The references to the Holy Land in the titles of the two photographs in the diptych Oil Stain (Bethlehem) and Spilt Milk (Jerusalem) also cause them to resonate with meaning. In these places everyday occurrences become symbolic – a phenomenon known as ‘Jerusalem Syndrome’ – so that milk, for example, might refer to the Bible’s ‘land of milk and honey’, and oil to the process of anointment. War, Peace (2015) is one of a series of works made by Parker in collaboration with prisoners in British jails. The definitions of the words are embroidered on either side of a piece of linen, so that while one text is being read the opposing one can be read in reverse on alternate lines. ‘Thus the definitions become a little less defined,’ Parker has said. All three of these works appeared in the exhibition by Cornelia Parker which marked the reopening of the Whitworth in February 2015.


Direct from studio

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