Anti-Mass, 2005

Cornelia Parker
(b. 1956)

Charcoal and wire,
156 x 132 x 135 in.

This sculpture is constructed from the charred remains of a Southern Black Baptist church that was destroyed by arsonists. In the title, Parker uses the word mass as a reference to both the elemental Christian faith. The seemingly unrelated realms of science and religion are thus brought together in a metaphoric insistence on the power of creativity over violence and destruction. Parker’s cube appears to defy gravity, providing a monumental object for quiet meditation and reflection.

This sculpture confronts views with the temporal nature of everything physical, even as it captures the spirit of those who previously worshiped in the building until the fire turned it into a testament to the violence directed against African Americans. It floats as a miraculous, spectral object that evokes both the lost church and the bodily presence of its congregation through an absence more powerful than any figurative image.

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3 Responses to “Anti-Mass, 2005”

  1. Was this work on display somewhere in Oakland?

  2. Art sometimes escapes me, my inner OCD want to clean up the burnt stuff to see what’s beyond it.

  3. It’s at the DeYoung in San Francisco, Steve.

    I guess that’s why they say art is in the eye of the beholder, AZ Even hefore I read what this piece was about, I got depressed. I found the piece overwhelming. Maybe you had to be there.

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