Cornelia Parker Artists Buttons


Edition no.

Cornelia Parker
Buttons, 2023

Lead soldiers, wax thread, card
Card dimensions 210 × 148 mm
In an edition of 30

The button(s) have been hand sewn onto an A5 cards. Each card is numbered, dated and signed by the artist and presented in a bespoke box designed by A Practice for Everyday Life.

Cornelia Parker has transformed her button cards into battlegrounds, creating violent encounters between vintage lead soldiers which are sewn onto each card with blood-like red thread. The red cross created by the act of sewing has various resonances: according to the artist, it could mean that the soldier is wounded or signify a ‘kill’. Its form also recalls the emblem of the Red Cross.

Each of Parker’s button cards is an original artwork, with a different configuration of soldiers on what she calls her ‘mini theatres of war’. The artist looks to the history of the soldiers, which would have been part of children’s war games in a time before the discovery of lead’s toxic properties. By transforming found objects in this way, Parker renders both the toys and the ‘buttons’ useless, except as art. The marks and holes on the button cards document the process of making.

Cornelia Parker uses forms of transformation to engage with important issues of our time, including violence, ecology and human rights. She often uses processes that mimic cartoon ‘deaths’ such as explosions, steam- rollering, falling from cliffs and shooting full of holes. 

About the Artists Buttons project

Ten leading artists, Ai Weiwei, Jonathan Anderson, Rana Begum, Edmund de Waal, Antony Gormley, Callum Innes, Jennifer Lee, Cornelia Parker, Vicken Parsons & Caroline Walker, have been creating limited edition sets of buttons in support of Kettle’s Yard.

The project draws inspiration from the exhibition, ‘Lucie Rie: The Adventure of Pottery’, recently at Kettle’s Yard and from 14 July 2023 – 7 January 2024 at the Holburne Museum in Bath. In 1938, Lucie Rie fled her home in Vienna for London to escape the Nazi persecution of Jewish people. During the war, unable to get a licence to make pots, Rie turned to making ceramic buttons for the fashion industry, experimenting on a miniature scale with new forms and coloured glazes.

Read more about the Artist Buttons project on the Kettle’s Yard blog

Please note purchases of Artists Buttons per customer must not exceed £8,500. Any order exceeding £8,500 will not be processed. 

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