Frith Street Gallery are publishing a selection of films and videos online during the current lockdown. This exclusive weekly online programme includes moving image works which are usually seen only in exhibitions.
In 2017 Cornelia Parker became the UK’s first ever female Election Artist. The resulting three video works – Left Right & Centre, Election Abstract, and Thatcher’s Finger – were intended to reflect the tone and mood of the unique snap election.
[Photo Credit, Cornelia Parker, Left Right & Centre, 2017, Still Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London]
You can watch them online here until 18 May 2020.
Political Abstract by Cornelia Parker courtesy Frith Street Gallery
When I was invited by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art to be the official Election Artist for the 2017 snap election, one of the attractions for me was access; to be able to literally work inside Parliament while trying to grasp the conundrum that is today’s democracy. I tried to create a body of works that reflect this very particular moment in electoral history, to offer another perspective.
I enjoyed the challenge of aiming to be a non-partisan witness; if I recorded something right wing it had to be countered with something left, something red by something blue. The campaign colour coding of the various parties bled into my unconscious and I began seeing the political spectrum played out everywhere I looked. The street signs, rubbish in the streets, paint spills, coffee stains took on extra significance, and were duly recorded on my Instagram feed. I feared I was suffering from ‘Election Syndrome’. It’s ironic that after all my years of consciously avoiding social media, being Election Artist was what finally forced my hand. Now I am fighting an Instagram addiction, it has become my daily sketchbook.
We are living through politically turbulent times and this election was no exception, it was full of twists and turns. Brexit loomed large, and it was impossible to ignore the tragedies that occurred during and just after the election period, the terrorist attacks on Westminster, London Bridge and Manchester stadium and of course the fire at Grenfell Tower, but I wanted to reflect the ongoing social issues and human stories that I witnessed. As a maverick member of the press pack whilst following the campaign trail, I also found myself observing the press itself.