Dorothy Cross, Ceal Floyer, Cornelia Parker Helen Robertson, Bridget Smith
What happens when you take benign objects, lucky charms, a pearl necklace, loose coins, a lipstick and load them into a gun and fire them as bullets? And how do you describe the hole? This is the question that Cornelia Parker’s One Day this Glass Will Break seeks to answer. Working in collaboration with Colt Manufacturing, the specialist firearms company in Connecticut, Parker has had a typical male suit shot through with a pearl necklace and a ladies velvet dress shot through with small change. In a strange reversal of power, a dime, the poor relation of American coins, obliterates an aircraft carrier.
In a new series of works, Wedding Rings, cuttlefish bones cast through with gold wedding rings, Dorothy Cross explores the idea of working against nature to create a symbol for the convention of marriage. For centuries, the calcified back bone of the cuttlefish has been used for casting precious metals. The chalky surface impresses easily and contains the molten metal without fracturing. However, this process burns the surrounds of the bone black, and contrasts with the luminous gold of the rings. All of Cross’ rings remain attached to heavy sprues or overlap or abut; none of the rings remains unhindered and none of the rings can be worn.
The success of Ceal Floyer’s Working Title (Digging) is dependent on the spectator entering into the space between two stereo speakers placed a few feet apart. As in most of Floyer’s work, the medium is made absolutely obvious and brings about an internal relationship which is infinitely self reflexive. The speakers emit the sound of someone digging gravel. As a rhythm develops and the spectator mentally rehearses the action, consciously or unconsciously, from memory or from imagination, an imaginary arc of sound forms between one recorded action and its outcome.
Like Ceal Floyer’s work, Helen Robertson’s recent photographs and projections are staged to include the spectator and the exhibition space. Her photographs isolate surfaces which underlie and structure everyday experience. The particularity of a surface, whether it be skin, carpet or wall, is presented like a sample for scrutiny. She is interested in the inherent instability of these material surfaces and how as images they remain unstable. She installs her photographs making them explicitly relative to the space which contains them and the moment of perception.
Bridget Smith’s large-scale colour photographs inquire into what is behind a presentation and our perception of it. Her photographs of television studios simultaneously reveal the huge paraphernalia of broadcasting and the artifice of the apparently ‘cosy’ television studio. Her pictures of a sound studio echo Ceal Floyer’s exploration into the discrepancy between our perception of the sound we hear and the means that are used to create it. Smith chooses to photograph most of the spaces without any human presence and although they are places which testify absolutely to the complexity of our existence, the absence of people seems to underline an atmosphere of calm within them.