Cornelia Parker: interview

Given her tendency to shoot or steamroller objects, Cornelia Parker‘s ruminations on the power of the news are uncharacteristically minimal. Her family, including husband Jeff McMillan and six-year-old daughter Lily, live and work in a converted Shoreditch studio

  • What’s the ghostly hanging tent?

    ‘My show will be like a shanty camp of these veils making moiré patterns. They were camouflaged army tents but there’s almost nothing to them now. Last year both my parents died so the funereal feel has come from that, although normally I try to keep emotional baggage out of my work.’

    Does Jeff mind you hogging the studio?

    ‘I don’t set up large works like the blown-up shed here because I prefer to make quick decisions in the gallery, rather than prevaricate over the permutations. A lot get’s planned on the kitchen table, I like to make work into play.’


    Why is the show called ‘Latent News’?

    ‘I was cutting up headlines into phrases and Lily began writing them out as part of her homework. She’s doesn’t understand what she’s writing yet – things like “Catastrophe is always elsewhere” – but we’re all bombarded with this weird concrete poetry now, either in the papers or in email spam.’

    What was it like meeting Chomsky?

    ‘He was great, although when I arrived at MIT I said I was nervous, and he said, “So you should be!” By the end of the interview he became warm and generous, allowing me more time and wondering whether he said the right things. He’s 79 and getting old, so it was brilliant he agreed to meet with this strange artist.’ Cornelia Parker’s ‘Latent News' is at Frith Street Gallery from Friday and ‘Chomskian Abstract’ is at the Whitechapel until Mar 30.

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