In 1991, Cornelia Parker enlisted the British Army to blow up a garden shed for her. The Army officers discussed the various ways they could achieve the effect she was after and settled on plastic explosives.

Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, 1991. Collection: Tate, image courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London © the artist, photograph: Hugo Glendinning.

Parker then took the blown-up fragments of everything from tools to toys and suspended them to look exactly as they did immediately after the explosion around a single light bulb, which cast dramatic shadows around the gallery.

The large-scale installation, which is called Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, is one of Parker’s most famous works. Regularly named as a favourite artwork by visitors to the Tate in London, it will feature in a major retrospective of Parker’s work opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art this month as part of the Sydney International Art Series.

The exhibition will include over 40 artworks from across her career including four large-scale installations, embroideries, works on paper, video works and a a selection of small-scale sculptures and objects, as well as some pieces she made when...

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