Cornelia Parker, who once said of her art, “I resurrect things that have been killed off,” has been named the official artist for the 2017 general election, and is the first woman to take on the role. Politicians who study the CV of the Turner prize-nominated Royal Academy member, whose work is in many national and international collections, may be alarmed to note that it has often involved spectacular acts of destruction of her subjects. She called in the army to help her blow up a shed, later exhibited as suspended fragments as if in mid-explosion, and used part of the mechanism of Tower Bridge to flatten 54 brass band instruments in Breathless, a commission for the V&A. Last year she dismantled an old American barn and reconstructed it as the sinister Bates mansion from the film Psycho, as an installation on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Much of her work has a political element. In 2015, her Magna Cartawent on a UK tour celebrating the 800th anniversary of the original’s creation – a 13-metre rendering of the Wikipedia entry on the charter as an embroidery, hand-stitched by hundreds of people including the whistleblower Edward Snowden, the musician Jarvis Cocker, as well as campaigners and activists, politicians and prisoners.
Parker, who was one of the signatories of a letter backing Caroline Lucas – but not specifically the Green party – in the last election, said: “We live in scary but exhilarating times. The whole world order seems to be changing. As an artist, I feel honoured to have been invited to respond to such an important election. With all its challenging issues and complexity, it is an event that I’m excited to engage with and I look forward to sharing my finished work.”