Sculptor Cornelia Parker named as 2017 election artist

Turner Prize-nominated artist Cornelia Parker becomes the fifth official election artist.

Sculptor Cornelia Parker has been chosen as this year’s official election artist.

Parker, who was once nominated for the Turner Prize, is the fifth election artist and the first woman in the role.

She will observe the election campaign, which culminates in the vote on 8 June, and produce a piece in response.

She said she felt honoured by the invitation, adding: “We live in scary but exhilarating times. The whole world order seems to be changing.”

With “all its challenging issues and complexity”, she said, the election “is an event that I’m excited to engage with and I look forward to sharing my finished work”.

Parker’s work has been displayed in galleries across the world including in London’s Tate Modern, the British Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The official election artist is chosen by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, and Parker will have to complete the piece by early September.

She said three names were put forward to the committee and she was asked if she would like to be one of the names.

She told Radio 4’s Today programme: “I did think about it, but not for too long because I’d been, like everyone, totally absorbed in politics. Listening to the American election, worrying about the French election and worrying about our own election.

“I thought well I might as well immerse myself completely.”

Despite having “all kinds of ideas”, Parker said she had to be realistic about what can be managed within the time frame.

She told the programme that the committee had asked her to do something on social media because she was “not a social media person”.

When asked about what she might have planned, Parker said she was “more interested in the people, not necessarily the politicians”. She said she would try to go to at least one of each party’s hustings and “get out of the big metropolitan centres”.

She admitted there was “room for humour” with the commission.

Parker is best known for large-scale creations like Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, where the Army blew up a garden shed and she suspended the fragments around a light source.

Her piece The Maybe, staged at London’s Serpentine Gallery, was a collaboration with actress Tilda Swinton, who lay, as if asleep, in a glass cabinet.

One of her most recent projects was Magna Carta (An Embroidery), a hand-sewn Wikipedia page to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the document.

Her final election artwork will join the parliamentary art collection, which documents the history of Parliament, later this year.

Alison McGovern, chairwoman of the committee, said she was delighted at Ms Parker’s selection.

“It’ll be really exciting to see how her ideas for this artwork develop over the campaign period,” she said.

The role of election artist was created in 2001 by Tony Banks, the then chairman of the parliamentary arts advisory committee.

Mr Banks said in 2001 that recording an election on canvas was something that had not been done recently.

“It just occurred to me that we have war artists, so why not have an election artist?”

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