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Cornelia Parker

Sue Lawley's castaway is artist Cornelia Parker.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the artist Cornelia Parker. Cornelia grew up in the country where she lived on a small holding looked after by her father. She spent much of her time mucking out pigs, milking cows, laying hedges and tying up tomato plants. Her means of escape was to run into the fields to daydream. English and art were her favourite subjects, and a trip to the Tate Gallery in London with her school when she was aged 15 confirmed that she wanted to be an artist. After studying art at college, Cornelia turned her hand to sculpture, inspired by the Arte Povera movement in Italy which rejected traditional marble and bronze and used any materials they chose. She developed her style by mixing with other students and collaborating with theatre groups.

Cornelia liked the idea of her work being ephemeral and didn't worry about it's existence beyond an exhibition. For her first solo exhibition in 1980 she showed a number of pieces and because she had nowhere to store them, told the organisers that afterwards they could give them to local schools. "I don't know what they did with them!" she says. After a car accident in 1994 Cornelia began to realise the importance of keeping some of her work and she began to be represented by a gallery. She broadened her collaborations - for her piece Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View she got the British Army to blow up a shed so that she could hang it back together again, suspended around a lightbulb. For her piece Wedding Ring Drawing she employed a silversmith who could draw a gold wedding ring into a very fine thread. In 1995 she worked with the actress Tilda Swinton on a project The Maybe, which included Tilda herself exhibited in a glass case. In 1997 Cornelia was nominated for the Turner Prize for her work.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Cry Baby by Janis Joplin
Book: World of Wonder: 10,000 things every child should know by Charles Ray
Luxury: A solar-powered vibrator

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 21 Feb 2003 09:00

Music Played

Add music you love and enjoy it with My Tracks
  • Wim Mertens

    Maximizing the Audience

    • Maximizing the Audience.
    • Les Disques Du Crepuscule.
  • Python Lee Jackson with Rod Stewart

    In A Broken Dream

    • A Series - 25 Years of Rock and Roll 72.
    • Connoisseur Collection.
  • Castaway's Favourite

  • Bob Dylan

    Lay, Lady, Lay

    • The Best of Bob Dylan.
    • Columbia.
  • Jocelyn Pook


    • Untold Things.
    • Real World.
  • Graeme Miller

    Three Excerpts From 159 to 161

  • James Brown

    It's A Man's World

    • A Bronx Tale.
    • Epic.
  • Gavin Bryars with Tom Waits

    Jesus' Blood Never Failed me Yet

    • Jesus' Blood Never failed me Yet.
    • Point Music.
  • Book Choice

    • World of Wonder: 10,000 things every child should know - Charles Ray

  • Luxury Choice

    • A solar-powered vibrator


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Cornelia Parker


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