Cornelia Parker’s current solo exhibition at Frith Street is mainly dedicated to her video American Gothic, that explores the street of New York during Halloween festivities in 2016. A few days later, Donal Trump was elected President of the United States putting a brutal ending to this age of insouciance and frivolity.
One of her Bullet Drawings can also be seen. These drawings are reminiscent of XXth century abstract art and yet are made with a bullet that has been melted and stretched so as to become the sole material to compose the work. In an interview for the International Sculpture Center, the artist explains:
[in recent] Bullet Drawings, bullets were melted down and drawn into wire, so they somehow became a trajectory of themselves. A bullet’s worth of lead wire was trapped between two sheets of glass and framed, where it looked like a pencil drawing. Perhaps the way that the piece of wire is fashioned is the intuitive part.
The transformation and the extension annihilates the primary purpose of the object that sees its trajectory being infinitely trapped into its new imposed form. The frame and the glass become the symbolic prison that the bullet may have led to should it had been used as initially intended.
If not told, one would never guess that the drawing has been traced with a bullet’s lead and when told, one is surprised to hear that an object constantly associated with the most horrendous parts of human nature and history has become this delicate medium for the most ethereal result. Does Cornelia Parker invite us to question our societ`al passivity? Should we start believing in our ability to transform? Is that ability extensible?
Cornelia Parker until June 21st, 2017 at Frith Street Gallery.
Interview by the International Sculpture Art Center.