NORFOLK Museums Service
Cornelia Parker, ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View’, 1991

Cornelia Parker

22 November 2004 – 27 February 2005

This exhibition featured two major installations from Tate by British artist Cornelia Parker. Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991) and Thirty Pieces of Silver (1988-89) dramatically transformed the temporary exhibition galleries at Norwich Castle.

Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View was created by blowing up a garden shed and its eclectic contents, ranging from bicycles and boxing gloves to hair curlers and hockey sticks. The explosion, a carefully planned event undertaken by the British army, resulted in the violent transformation of the shed into charred and distorted fragments. These fragments were subsequently collected by the artist and suspended around a single light bulb, resulting in dramatic shadows which are projected onto the surrounding walls.

The impact of this installation is startling: we see a snapshot of an explosion or perhaps a view of a parallel universe at the point of creation. Parker has transformed the humble garden shed and the assembled detritus of modern life into an extraordinary installation that deals with the personal meaning and value we assign to objects, yet at the same time connects with broad universal themes in a poetic and unforgettable way.

Thirty Pieces of Silver
was also created through the transformation of objects by extreme force. For this work Parker collected over a thousand silver objects and had them crushed by a steamroller. The flattened objects were then sorted into thirty ‘discs’ that were suspended from the ceiling, mysteriously appearing to levitate just above the gallery floor. This exhibition was the first time these two works were shown in a single exhibition which provided a visual experience unique to Norwich Castle.

The exhibition was presented in Norwich through the Tate Partnership Scheme and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the East Anglia Art Foundation.