Monday 25 January 2016

2015 & Cornelia Parker - Part 2 at St Pancras & the British Library

This is Part 2 of my journey through 2015 with Cornelia Parker ...
One More Time - Cornelia Parker
(Quick recap - I have already admitted that until 2015 I hadn't really come across Cornelia Parker - and then suddenly her work seemed to be everywhere.  Parker (b. 1956) is known for her large scale, often site specific, installations.  She works in a variety of mediums and collaborates with many bodies and institutions. Part 1 dealt with her exhibition at the reopening of The Whitworth, Manchester)

To continue ... in 2015 Cornelia Parker also had work on display in St Pancras Station, London.  Here as part of the Terrace Wires public art programme, where artworks are suspended from the Barlow Shed roof for a period of 6 months, she had "One More Time".  A replica working DENT clock in black and silver was hung 16m in front of the original station clock.  For arriving passengers, the artwork gradually eclipses the original station clock.  The work is meant to promote thoughts on the passage of time, life and mortality.  The clock was made by DENT, who also made the original (& Big Ben).  Hope they find somewhere in the station for it permanently - even if not serving its original artistic purpose - it's a very nice clock!

Magna Carta (An Embroidery) - detail

Then just down the road at the British Library, I found "Magna Carta (An Embroidery)" which at almost 13m long is a hand embroidered replica of the Wikipedia entry of 15 June 2014 for the Magna Carta (its 799 anniversary). Embroidered by 200 people, it was created to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and acts as a contemporary interpretation.  (In case you don't know - Magna Carta, which means "The Great Charter", is one of the most important documents in history as it established the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the king, and guarantees the rights of individuals, the right to justice and the right to a fair trial.)

The piece was displayed flat under glass

To create this, Parker captured the Wikipedia entry on 15 June 2014 and printed it out onto cloth (half panama cotton).  It was then divided into 87 sections and dished out to various people to complete.  The bulk of the text was done by Fine Cell Work, a social enterprise who train prisoners in needlework and provide paid employment for the work they do.  The pictures, logos and emblems were completed by members of the Embroiderers' Guild (EG), the Royal School of Needlework and the embroidery company, Hand & Lock.  The Royal School of Needlework then put it all back together again.  At Parker's invitation particular words and phrases were completed by a variety of people from many walks of life for which that aspect of the Charter had some special resonance.

Doreen Lawrence embroidered "justice", "denial" & "delay"
Jarvis Cocker embroidered "Common People"

It's a fantastic piece of work.  Here are just a few highlights.

1225 Magna Carta issued by Henry III stitched by Ann Carrick & Elaine Dunn (EG - North East Region)
Pope Innocent III stitched by Anthea Godfrey (EG - Eastern Region) - it took 450 hours to complete!
You can even see what it looks like underneath
Jurist Edward Coke stitched by Shirley Smith & Zita Szabo (EG - Yorkshire and the Humber Region)
King John signs Magna Carta stitched by Janet Payne (EG - Eastern Region)
Page from a 14th Century manuscript stitched by Jane Drummond (EG - East Midlands Region)

You really need to see it in all its glory to get the full effect.  It is currently travelling around the country.  If it comes your way do go and take a look, it's well worth it!  And here are all the people who helped make it ...

A masterly collaboration! You can watch a YouTube video about it here.

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