Explosive Art Gets A Prison Sentence At Norwich Castle

By Zoë Adjonyoh | 16 November 2004
Shows a photograph of an artwork comprised of garden shed which has been blown up. The debris is suspended from the gallery ceiling and a single lightbulb in the middle causes shadows to be cast all around the room.

Cold Dark Matter, Cornelia Parker. Courtesy Norwich Castle.

Two major installations by British artist Cornelia Parker are set to go on show at Norwich Castle from November 22 until February 27 2005.

Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991 and Thirty Pieces of Silver 1988-89 have been loaned to the museum by Tate.

Cold Dark Matter is the explosive result of the British Army blowing up a garden shed and its contents, including bicycles, hockey sticks and boxing gloves in the name of modern art.

This was no arbitrary event, but a carefully planned deconstruction to allow artist Cornelia Parker to reconstruct the charred contents into a twisted reassembly tackling the personal meaning and value we assign to modern day objects.

Shows a black and white photograph of the shed being blown up in front of a line of trees.

The explosion - birth of an artwork. Courtesy Norwich Castle.

“There’s a real wow-factor when you see this exhibition, it’s so full of detail and has a through the keyhole element that’s irresistible” commented Helen Mitchell, Marketing Officer.

“There’s lots of routes through the art work making it accessible for everybody, from grandparents to children, arty types and non arty types.”

Genuine intrigue is created by the collection of domestic hanging debris, suspended around a single light bulb, which creates dramatic shards of lights filtering around the gallery. The shadows and projected images emanating from it are at once awesome and poetic, and indeed seem to be an integral part of the installation itself.

The application of unnatural force, similarly created Thirty Pieces of Silver, although this time through the auspices of a steamroller crushing and flattening over a thousand silver objects.

The resulting thirty ‘discs’ are also suspended from the ceiling, bemusing onlookers by appearing to levitate just above the gallery floor.

Shows a photograph of the exterior of Norwich Castle. It is a vast stone building, shown under a blue sky.

The mighty Norwich Castle, Norman stronghold, 14th century prison and now an art gallery. Courtesy Norwich Castle.

Norwich Castle has the unique advantage of hosting the combined awe of these two installations in one single show, their union all the more enhanced by the shared dominance of the grand and simple space of this old prison.

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of workshops and talks that are particularly useful for children and family visits.

The myriad of objects involved in Cold Dark Matter alone will keep children amused for hours, and fear not, your friendly guide will have the difficult task of satisfying the enquiring minds as to the reason for the artist blowing up a shed.

One-hour tickets are available under the guise ‘Pop in for a pound’. Tickets can be acquired in the last hour of opening or during school term, anytime between 12-1pm to gain access to the entire museum.

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