Rorschach (Accidental I)

Cornelia Parker


Object, 1.9 x 219.9 x 236.2 cm.
Materials: 52 silver plated objects crushed by a 250 ton metal press

Collection: Courtesy Frith Street Gallery, London.

In the exhibition piece Rorschach (Accidental I) Cornelia Parker (b. 1956) crushed fifty-two silver plated objects under a heavy industrial press. Then she instructs each squashed piece of this table service to be hung separately in the museum space, such that they hover like a horizontal plane, low above the floor. The typical notion of a breakfast table at a chic hotel is not far off. Only there is no table, and the table arrangement here rather gives the impression of a ghost photo or a shadow play.

The title makes reference to the Rorschach test, a well-known psychological test where symmetrical inkblots are used to help divide aspects of a subject's mental state in relationship to the associations that he or she makes. Here, the decorative aspect of the silver silhouettes in flattened symmetrical configurations yields something akin to a reflective Rorschach. Furthermore, it was within the circles of such rich bourgeoisie that initially the diagnostic lid was raised, to reveal the human psyche with all its latent violence and cruelty.

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