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Cornelia Parker is bringing her bold art installations to Sydney

Cornelia Parker Museum of Contemporary Art 2019
Photograph: Hugo Glendinning Cornelia Parker, 'Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View', 1991 © the artist

This year, the Museum of Contemporary Art's big summer show is impressive but a touch on the modest side: a career retrospective of South African photographer David Goldblatt. Next year they're back into more obvious summer blockbuster territory, with an exhibition focussed on British artist Cornelia Parker.

Parker is considered one of England's biggest and most influential art stars from the last few decades and was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010. But the thing that really excites us? In 1995 she collaborated with Tilda Swinton on a performance work in which Swinton slept inside a glass case, in public view, in the middle of a gallery. As far as we know, Swinton won't be napping at the MCA.


Cornelia Parker at the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Photograph: Jessica Taylor


Instead, at the centre of the MCA's exhibition is Parker's breakthrough work from 1991, 'Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View', which features a garden shed she had the actual British Army blow up with explosives. She then suspended all the fragments as they appeared in the moment immediately after explosion and placed a bright light in the centre of them, casting shadows of those fragments all around the gallery space.

It's those large-scale installations for which she's best known, transforming everyday objects and suspending them in that moment of transformation. But the exhibition goes a lot further than that, and will feature more than 40 artworks, including sculptures, video works and even embroidery.


Cornelia Parker, 'Magna Carta (An Embroidery)', 2015, installation view, Whitworth, Manchester
Image courtesy the artist


MCA visitors will get to see her staggering 'Magna Carta (An Embroidery)' – a complete embroidered version of the Wikipedia article about the Magna Carta as it appeared on June 15 2014. It's a 13-metre long embroidery and features contributions from people who are affected by the Magna Carta, including prisoners, Julian Assange, Germaine Greer, Brian Eno and Edward Snowden. There's even a spot of blood from former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who pricked his finger while sewing.

The MCA's Cornelia Parker exhibition will be open from November 8 2019 to February 16 2020.

Don't miss the MCA's David Goldblatt exhibition and see one of these stellar exhibitions this summer.