Cornelia Parker & Marcel Broodthaers

3 - 10 May 2008

The pairing of Cornelia Parker & Marcel Broodthaers in this, the 22nd of the year long series of 26 'pairings', is a celebration of two artists who share a belief in the power of poetic transformation. Both artists have what Jessica Morgan has described as "a humorous and conceptually savvy approach to art making"?. [Matter and What it Means by Jessica Morgan in Cornelia Parker, published by ICA Boston, 2000]. In other words, they can squeeze big ideas out of seemingly small gestures.


Broodthaers (1924-1976) was a poet, photographer, film-maker and artist who, throughout his career, challenged the role of the artwork, the artist and the art institution. He is considered to be one of the most important artists of the last century and his work and thinking has been highly influential on many artists working today. His work avoids easy classification, stepping in and out of surrealist and conceptual genres, often with a light touch and a wry smile. The work exhibited here was a short film 'La Pluie' from 1969, shown with the kind permission of Marie-Puck Broodthaers and the Broodthaers Estate.


The two works by Cornelia Parker (b.1956) both display her interest in subverting the ordinary. In 'The Negative of Words' the silver threads of residue left by an engraver's tools are rescued from the silversmith's bench and gathered in a small pile. Parker has said "engraved words are always monumental in some way, so what would their inverse be?"? Something strange and unfamiliar is born from a more factual and recognisable start. Similarly, 'The Collected Death of Images' presents silver particles left over from the process of 'fixing' an image with photographic chemicals fashioned into a thin sheet of silver. It appears almost like the surface of an old mirror and carries the suggestion that these slivers of silver might contain the ghosts of lost images.