When British artist Cornelia Parker was a little girl, she loved throwing coins onto the nearby railroad tracks. Seeing them violently transformed made her interested in art.

Thirty Pieces of Silver

©Cornelia Parker via BBC News

Parker created this piece by hanging over a thousand pieces of silver-plated metal in 30 different pools or “discs”. “The title […] alludes to money, to betrayal, to death and resurrection; more simply, it is a literal description of the piece.”

Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View

©Cornelia Parker via BBC News

Twisted pieces of bicycles, gardening equipment, painted pots, and toys are lit by a bright lightbulb in the middle of the structure. Viewers are tricked into seeing a frozen explosion.

Perpetual Canon

©Cornelia Parker via BBC News

Parker extended “Thirty Pieces of Silver” into “Perpetual Canon” by destroying 60 brass-band instruments. “The idea of a Perpetual Canon [is] that [it] just keeps going on forever.” It’s like these wind instruments have inhaled and never exhaled. Like they’ve just taken a breath and are in an arrested space.”

Parker’s most recent ongoing work is “Island” (2022). The greenhouse that was left behind and its white-washed windows raise issues of climate change.