suspended inanimation*

images: 30 pieces of silver (exhaled); 30 pieces of silver; Rorschach (endless column 2); work in progress with a steam roller; neither from nor towards; hanging fire (suspected arson); Mass: colder darker matter; cold dark matter: an exploded view; anti-mass

On a visit to the otherwise disappointing MAD, I discovered British artist Cornelia Parker (b. 1956). Known for conceptual installation pieces, she has been described as searching for "the elusive essence of material things." It is as though she captures things in moments of disaster, or more specifically, in moments of flux. Stopped in mid-combustion, preserved in mid-fall her work includes objects exploded, flattened, sliced, threaded, washed and suspended. Each work has struck me as surprisingly "alive" despite being in ruin.

Neither from nor towards is a collection of brick remnants from a seaside house which had fallen into the water, the bricks tumbled and eroded by tides. The work I saw, Rorschach (endless column 2), consisted of several pieces of iconic vintage silverware flattened by a 250-ton industrial press suspended a few inches from the floor. Perhaps too easily ethereal and haunting? Still, I found it ravishing. In Shared Fate (1998) she sliced mundane objects (a roll of daily newspapers for instance) with the guillotine used to decapitate Marie Antoinette, among other notables. Her “exploded” work, like Anti-Mass, includes charred remains of churches hit by lightning or destroyed by arson which she has gathered and hung. The particles appear like stardust that absorb light rather than emitting it...

* inanimation: 1) Lack of animation; lifeless; dullness; 2) Infusion of life or vigor; animation; inspiration.

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