Cornelia Parker, Thatcher's Finger, 2018
Cornelia Parker reconfigures domestic objects to question our relationship with the world. For this video, Parker used her iPhone, drones, and traditional cameras to film Thatcher’s Finger at night in the House of Commons in 2017, while she was Election Artist. A spotlight tracks around a statue of Margaret Thatcher, as she stands in the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. A spotlight casts the elongated and enlarged shadow of the ex-prime minister’s arm and pointing finger on the walls about it. Recalling expressionist cinema, Thatcher is recast as the haunting shadow of the vampire in Murnau’s 1922 silent film, Nosferatu.
Parker wrote: ‘It was pitch black, so the drone had its light on and it was illuminating a large statue of Margaret Thatcher in the Commons lobby. She is striking a strident pose, pointing her finger in an authoritative manner. The piece was about the sinister shadow and long reach of her finger … she had a lot to answer for, a legacy of responsibility to bear. The shadow of her pointing her finger felt still pretty potent. And it was engulfing the neighboring statue of H.H. Asquith. The shadow of her finger goes round the room and then it envelops the Liberal guy. It’s tragicomic.’
CORNELIA PARKER. Thatcher’s Finger, 2018. Digital color video, no sound, 3 min., 30 sec. © Cornelia Parker. Courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London.
The statue of Baroness Thatcher was created by Antony Dufort and is situated in the Members’ Lobby in the House of Commons. The artist is grateful to The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, for permission to film; to the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art for approval to use this footage in this artwork; and to the staff of the Curator’s Office at the House of Commons.