Cornelia PARKER (°1956, Cheshire, Great Britain) describes her work as an interrogation of the passing of time, transformation, otherness and memory.
By stating that "we cannot capture the precise image of life because everything is in constant flux", she underlines this observation of the non-permanence of everything. Driven by a poetic vision of great acuity, Cornelia Parker has been working for some twenty years with objects to which she pays particular attention.
Thirty Pieces of Silver perhaps embodies the singularity of her work: by collecting commemorative silver objects (dishes, flasks, cups, musical instruments), she builds up a collection of artefacts that had some meaning or at least some use for someone unknown to us. These relics evoke a bygone past and carry with them various possibilities of interpretation. Who did these objects belong to? The flattened flute, for example, found among the objects: what sounds did it make, what melodies were played on it? What was its previous life, before it was flattened and frozen?
"Objects are landmarks in life. I wanted to change their meaning, their visibility, their value, so I chose to crush them and give them all the same fate...". The aim of such a mutation is, despite appearances, not to destroy but rather to reposition, to give new meaning to these objects.
The circular structure is particularly well chosen. While allowing us to wander around the work, Parker invites us to reflect on the notion of memory and the memories that constitute it. All these objects are now obsolete and unusable, but they also represent the quintessence of the object itself. Can we not perceive the very nature of this musical instrument thanks to the metamorphosis that Cornelia Parker has given it?
By crushing this silverware, the artist paradoxically underlines the beauty, the fragility of things (and the moments of existence attached to them) to which we usually offer only fleeting attention. Bringing beauty back into the detail is what Cornelia Parker does.