Shadows created by the central light bulb suspended in the middle of the fragments of wood and objects, are an integral part of the work

  • Cornelia Parker, 'Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View' 1991
    Cornelia Parker
    Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991
    Mixed media
    unconfirmed: 4000 x 5000 x 5000 mm
    Presented by the Patrons of New Art (Special Purchase Fund) through the Tate Gallery Foundation 1995© Cornelia Parker

Shadows on the floor and on the wall are as much part of the work as the suspended objects. The real and the immaterial mingle and merge, turning the whole gallery space into a sculptural environment.

Without central illumination and viewed under regular gallery lighting, the work changes character completely. Although not intended to be viewed in this way, this image shows how the feeling and impact of the piece without the carefully placed central light source, and without the shadows, is completely altered.

View of Cornelia Parker's Cold Dark Matter with the lights on and no shadows


So you’re in between the shadow and the work, so you’re almost inside the piece. In a way the shadows are almost as much a part of the piece as the physical objects that are creating the shadows; but your shadow gets incorporated into those on the wall, so it’s almost like standing inside a still explosion.