The Whitworth reopens 14 February 2015 with a major solo exhibition from one of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, Cornelia Parker – and her work invites you to witness the transformation of ordinary objects into something compelling and extraordinary.
Cornelia Parker’s work transforms ordinary objects into the compelling and the extraordinary. Featuring career-defining works such as Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991) and The Distance (A Kiss With String Attached) (2003), this exhibition also shows many new works that continue her preoccupation with dematerialising matter; bullets, blood and bronze are transformed into linear explorations. Unique to the Whitworth is War Room, a vast and immersive installation made from punched out paper negatives taken from the Poppy Factory in Richmond, its moiré of empty spaces echoing the 45 million remembrance poppies made each year.
The opening night of the exhibition will be marked by Cornelia Parker’s new ‘meteor shower’ work, Blakean Abstract. This has come about through a collaboration with the University of Manchester scientist, Kostya Novoselov, who, with Andre Geim, was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on graphene - the thinnest and strongest known material. Working with a paper conservator, Novoselov took microscopic samples of graphite from drawings in the Whitworth’s collection by William Blake, Turner, Constable and Picasso as well as a pencil-written letter by Sir Ernest Rutherford (who split the atom in Manchester). He then made graphene from these samples. Parker is using the Blake graphene for this work of art to trigger a firework meteor shower in Whitworth Park inspired by William Blake’s watercolour The Ancient of Days, which itself is part of the Whitworth’s collection.