Thomas A. Clark’s vinyl text of John Constable’s signature, in yesterday’s sequence, is in effect an invitation for anyone to turn a window with a sky view into a ‘found’ Constable cloud study. Today’s image is a found cloud of a different sort – a photograph of shafts of light falling from a ‘Cloudburst’ found on the rusted metal side of an old bomb disposal vessel in the courtyard of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem.
The ‘found’ image or object has been critical to Cornelia Parker’s body of work that frequently exploits the potential of an object’s inherent history, subverting its meaning by changing its physical properties. Most famously this has seen her crushing silver trophies and tureens with a steamroller and (in ‘Breathless’ her permanent commission in the V&A) using the hydraulic lifting systems of Tower Bridge to flatten a circle of trombones and trumpets in what becomes a squashed brass band. As Cornelia puts it “One Victorian Institution has literally knocked the wind out of another… From below, the tarnished underbellies of the instruments become black cartoons of their former selves, silhouetted against the white ceiling. The loss of one dimension adds another. A working-class fanfare in the guise of a heraldic ceiling rose, silently sounding the last gasp of the British Empire.”
We’ve been very glad to host Cornelia’s work a number of times since first showing ‘Alter Ego’ (a coffee pot and it’s crushed ‘shadow’) in the exhibition ‘Thread’ in 2006. We paired her work with Marcel Broodthaers in ‘8 Days’ in 2007 and included work in the exhibitions ‘Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing’ in 2009 and ‘Mystics and Rationalists’ in 2011. That year she was the 13th artist to make a work for our public art project ‘Billboard for Edinburgh’.