Up, Down, Charm, Strange (Truth and Beauty)

Cornelia Parker, 1956

Up, Down, Charm, Strange (Truth and Beauty)

Cornelia Parker 1956


Set of six black and white photographs of different feathers that have special significance or a story to tell: Feather that went to the top of Everest in the jacket of Rebecca Stevens, the first British woman to climb Mount Everest; Feather from Benjamin Franklin's attic; Raven feather from the Tower of London; Feather that went to the South Pole in the sleeping bag of Sir Ranulph Fiennes on his trip across Antartica; Feather from Freud's pillow from his couch; Feather from a Wandering Albatross. These photograms are camera-less images that use only light combined with light-sensitive paper, a technique first developed by Fox Talbot in his 'photogenic drawings' of leaves. Each feather offers the viewer a range of imaginative journeys: historical, geographical and poetic.

Display Label

Focal Points: Art and Photography Photography is the medium at the heart of many of the most significant works of art of our times and its uses are many and varied. This display explores just some of the different ways contemporary artists have employed the camera in their work. Following Pop Art’s lead in adopting the aesthetics of the everyday, the commercial and the banal and its incorporation of photography, Conceptual art of the late 1960s and 1970s took up the rough and ready photograph alongside language as its principal means of expression. Often the photograph was used as evidence of a time-based action or performance. The artists in this display, working from the 1980s onwards, have taken inspiration from these earlier artistic movements pioneering the use of photography and have gone on to explore many traditional artistic themes in new and exciting ways. Here are artists using the camera to explore the body, reinvent still-life, examine our cultural identities or explore the places where we live work and spend our leisure time. Often their work finds ways of making the familiar strange and the ugly beautiful. Over the last 10 years the Gallery has collected a number of works via the Contemporary Art Society’s Special Collection Scheme on the themes of photography and sculpture and the connections between the two. These works have formed the inspiration for the current display. Works from the collections of Manchester Art Gallery, The Arts Council Collection, The Whitworth Art Gallery and private collections An Arts Council Collection Partnership supported by Christie’s Selected by Tim Wilcox South Bank logo group set (our logos ?)

Object Name

Up, Down, Charm, Strange (Truth and Beauty)

Creators Name

Cornelia Parker

Date Created



frame (x6): 62.5cm x 62.5cm

accession number


Collection Group

fine art



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