Cornelia Parker was born in 1956 in Cheshire, UK. She studied at Gloucestershire College of Art and Design (1974-75), Wolverhampton Polytechnic (1975-78), and received her MFA from Reading University in 1982. Parker was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Wolverhampton (2000), the University of Birmingham (2005), and the University of Gloucestershire (2008). Parker lives and works in London.
Cornelia Parker is often known for her large-scale installations. Her convincing translations of familiar everyday objects into sculptural works explore the nature of matter, test physical properties, and play with private and public opinions and values. The artist explores numerous methods, such as exploding, squeezing, and stretching, to express her art using materials loaded with historical associations. Through her work, Parker examines contemporary themes such as human rights and environmental issues.
In 1997, Parker was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. In 2010, she was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and made an OBE. She was elected the Apollo Awards Artist of the Year in 2016, and the following year, awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester. In 2017, she was appointed as the first female Election Artist for the United Kingdom General Election. She was made an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 2021.
Over the last three decades, Parker has presented numerous major commissions and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. In May 2022, Tate Britain opened the first major survey of Cornelia Parker’s works held in London. Other notable exhibitions include those at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (Sydney, Australia), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA), Serpentine Gallery (London, UK), ICA Boston (USA), Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, UK), Museo de Arte de Lima (Peru) and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead, UK). Parker’s works were included in the 16th Sydney Biennial and the 8th Sharjah Biennial in 2008.
Public and private collections featuring Parker’s work include the Tate (London, UK), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), British Council (London, UK), Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, USA), and the Fundación la Caixa (Barcelona, Spain).