Friday, 27 July 2012


Part Two of the Kent art trail: The Folkestone Mermaid, Cornelia Parker’s contribution to the 2011 Folkestone Triennial, and a lasting monument on the Folkestone seafront. The pose emulates that of the Copenhagen Mermaid, which was unveiled almost exactly a century earlier in 1913. 

Parker’s work is diverse and often quietly violent in its content; she is probably best known for her installation Cold Dark Matter [1991] for which she blew up a garden shed and suspended the remnants in a cluster of broken, jagged shards and fragments that cast menacing shadows onto the walls. The Mermaid is a surprisingly harmless addition to her oeuvre. Folkestone residents are generally somewhat scathing of the bronze, deriding it as unappealing and unoriginal, but there is something lovely in how unassuming she is, and how uninterested in her viewers, a small figure with her back to us staring out to the horizon.

Here is a short interview with model Georgina Baker, in which she describes her application and selection to become immortalised in bronze, and the surprisingly painful process of taking the mould of her body. 

Cornelia Parker is represented by Frith Street Gallery.

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