Cornelia Parker studied at Gloucester College of Art (1974 – 1975), Wolverhampton Polytechnic, BA Hons (1975 – 1978) and Reading University, MFA (1980 – 1982). She is well known for her large scale, often site specific, installations. Her engagement with the fragility of existence and the transformation of matter is exemplified in two key works: Dark Matter, a cartoon-like reconstruction of an exploded army shed, and Heart of Darkness, the formal arrangement of charred remains from a forest fire. There is an apocalyptic tone to much of her work but she also demonstrates a concern with the more insidious effects of global warming and consumerism.
She works in a variety of mediums and has collaborated with institutions such as HM Customs & Excise, Royal Armouries, Madame Tussauds and Victoria & Albert Museum, London. She was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1997. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2010.
She was commissioned by Trinity Hall to create a tapestry, inspired by her work ‘30 pieces of silver’, to re-establish the tradition of having an arras hung in the Dining Hall. The threads of the tapestry incorporate a piece of College silver and the tapestry depicts a selection of the College’s most significant silver pieces, including the Founder’s Cup.