Cornelia Parker – Magna Carta (An Embroidery)

Whilst visiting The Whitworth for the Art Textiles exhibition I was lucky enough to be able to catch the Magna Carta embroidery.

In real life the size of this piece of work is enormous much bigger that i had been expecting, that was my initial impression.

The Magna Carta embroidery is an embroidered replica of the Wickipedia entry captured on 15 June 2014. This image was printed onto fabric. The fabric was then divided into 87 sections which were then sent to more than 200 individuals.

The majority of stiching was undertaken by prisoners supervised by fine cell work. The more detailed embroidery was undertaken by members of the Embroiderers guild. The most interesting elements of this work for me are the addition of small words or phrases stitched by judges, QCs, barristers, solicitors, campaigners for civil liberties, civil rights, political rights and human rights, activists, advocates, clerics, diplomats…….. These words stand out of the work because of the naive way they have been stiched but they add prominence to the carefully selected words.

I was fascinated with the mixture of perfect detailed embroidery mixed with much rougher stitching. I do not think that the work would have the depth it has achieved if it had simply been embroidered by accomplished embroiderers. Skill is not all that is required within an artwork, the ideas and the choice of application are of more importance in getting a message or ideas across.

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