Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Festival Launch at Parsonage

The Parsonage is making final preparations for the launch of Cornelia Parker’s new exhibition Brontëan Abstracts on Friday 15 September 2006 at 7 pm. The exhibition will be officially opened by Andrew Graham-Dixon, art historian and presenter of BBC2’s Culture Show.

The launch, which will be attended by Cornelia Parker, kicks off the Radical Brontës series of events which will see various artists, authors and actors interpret the Brontë family and their novels in different and creative ways throughout September.

Running with this theme, Cornelia’s exhibition, which is on from 16 September to 31 December 2006, will be displayed throughout the rooms of the house alongside original artefacts to encourage new ways of looking at the museum’s collection and at contemporary art. It aims to celebrate the connections between creativity, past and present, and to reflect the ways in which the Brontës’ lives and works have continued to inspire writers and artists across three centuries.

Cornelia worked with the Parsonage throughout 2005/06, the results of which are a collection of stunning exhibition pieces which include twenty five works based on items from the museum's collection. These include scanned and electron microscopic images of Brontë artefacts, including images of Anne Brontë’s hair and Charlotte Brontë’s feather pen. Also on display will be images of amendments to the original manuscripts of Jane Eyre, held in the British Library.

In addition there are sound installations in certain rooms which document a visit made by two psychics to the Parsonage, and a video recording of Brontë Society member Phyllis Cheney who claims descent from Branwell Brontë.

Over the years the Parsonage has been the inspiration behind many events and exhibitions which interpret the Brontë family and their novels in a new and dynamic way. The Brontë Society, which was founded in 1893 and is the oldest literary society in the world, has welcomed contemporary interpretations of the Brontë family and hopes new exhibitions and events will appeal to younger audiences.

Richard Wilcocks, Chairman of the Brontë Society says:

“For many years the Brontë Parsonage Museum and the Brontë Society have worked hard to appeal in new and different ways to today’s audience. In recent years the Museum has brought the lives of the Brontës to life using new technology such as video projections on the façade of the Parsonage and contemporary artwork by world renowned artists using electron microscopes.

“The new and improved educational workshops also hope to bring the joy of literature and poetry alive for children of all origins. The Brontë Society is delighted that the Radical Brontës series of events, part of the Illuminate festival, has proven popular with so many visitors both at home and abroad”.

With a new Brontë film due out in 2007 starring Brokeback Mountain star Michelle Williams and the serialisation of a new TV production of Jane Eyre in the pipeline, interest in the Brontë family has never been stronger and the Museum is seeking to ensure that visitors to the original home of the Brontë family provides an authentic and realistic glimpse of life in the 1800s.

The Parsonage is famous throughout the world as the Brontës’ home and the place where great novels such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were written. The house is now displayed as a ‘period home’, with the Brontës’ furniture, domestic objects, artworks and personal belongings set out to give an impression of the house in their own time.

The Parsonage’s Contemporary Arts Programme, which has Professor Germaine Greer as its Honorary Patron, will include visual arts, theatre, music, poetry, talks and workshops involving visiting authors, and more. Look at the Brontë website for more detailed information:

This post is from a recent news release from Diane Benn.


The Cornelia Parker Exhibition was made possible with support from Illuminate, The Esmee Fairburn Foundation and The Henry Moore Foundation. The Illuminate festival is a programme of arts and cultural events taking place in the five Yorkshire cities of Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and York from October 2005 to October 2006 and has been funded by the DCMS. The Brontë Parsonage Museum will be contributing to the festival with the start of a week long programme of Brontë events from Saturday 16 September 2006 to Sunday 24 September 2006.

Cornelia Parker Biography

Cornelia Parker was born in Cheshire in 1956 and lives and works in London. She studied at Gloucestershire College of Art and Design, Wolverhampton Polytechnic and at Reading University. She is best known for a number of large-scale installations including Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991), and The Maybe (1995), a collaboration with actress Tilda Swinton, who appeared sleeping inside a vitrine at the Serpentine Gallery. In tandem with large projects like these she has also made an ongoing series of smaller works entitled Avoided Object, working in collaboration with numerous institutions including HM Customs & Excise, The Royal Armouries and Madame Tussauds.

In 1997 she was awarded a residency at ArtPace in San Antonio, Texas and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, Tate Gallery, London. In 1998 she had major solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and Deitch Projects, New York. A retrospective of her work was held at the ICA Boston in 2000. In 2001, the Galeria de Arte Moderne in Turin presented a major one-person show, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London commissioned a permanent installation for the British Galleries. Recent group exhibitions include The Tate Triennale, Tate Britain 2003 and The Disembodied Spirit, Bowdoin Museum of Art, USA. She has works in the Tate Collection and in numerous public and private collections in Europe and the USA. She is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London.

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