London-based sculptor and installation artist Cornelia Parker has an affinity for smashing things. According to her bio, the artist “is fascinated with processes in the world that mimic cartoon ‘deaths'–steamrollering, shooting full of holes, falling from cliffs and explosions.” So it makes perfect sense that in Thirty Pieces of Silver, the artist had 1,116 silver objects flattened with a steamroller so that she could turn them into this thought-provoking, suspended installation.
From silver plates, spoons, and candlesticks to teapots, cigarette cases, and even trombones, Parker transformed these very ordinary things into the new and extraordinary. The flattened pieces were arranged into thirty groups of between 33 to 46 pieces, and suspended with fine copper wires from the ceiling, lowered to reach about 5 inches off of the ground. Each circular form is approximately 3 and 1/2 inches in diameter and placed in equally spaced out orderly rows. No longer usable, the objects become representative of a past function, visually transformed to have a different existence as a collective work of art.
Parker says, “I find the pieces of silver have much more potential when their meaning as everyday objects has been eroded. Thirty Pieces of Silver is about materiality and then about anti-matter. In the gallery the ruined objects are ghostly levitating just above the floor, waiting to be reassessed in the light of their transformation. The title, because of its biblical references, alludes to money, to betrayal, to death and resurrection: more simply it is a literal description of the piece.”
You can watch the video below to see the work that goes into the installation of Thirty Pieces of Silver.