Cornelia Parker, 'Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View' 1991
Cornelia Parker
Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991
© Cornelia Parker

Installing this work recreates the moment of explosion. The broken wooden fragments of the shed and the charred remains of the objects that were in the shed are suspended as if in mid-flight from the epicentre of the explosion.

Installing the work also adds new layers of meaning to it, as Parker explains:

As the objects were suspended one by one, they began to lose their aura of death and appeared reanimated, in limbo. The light on inside the installation created huge shadows on the wall, so the shed look like it was re-exploding or perhaps coming back together again. 

In this audio clip from an interview with Tate curator Michaela Parkin, Cornelia Parker further describes the effect she aims to create by suspending the broken and charred exploded objects:


I operate very often in these ‘frozen moments’ where there’s been lots of action but this a sort of quiet corner of that…So it’s not the explosion, it’s more the contemplation, you know, the quiet contemplation of these things in the air and because the things are in the air, they haven’t got the pathos they would have had if they were on the ground. It takes away that kind of pathos, which is there when you see a lot of the debris on the ground after an explosion, well put it back in the air and it’s still got some life