The Rampant Lions of Workum Cornelia Parker

Workum
‘My proposal is to “liberate” the heraldic lions on the face of the Weighing House in Workum from their centuries-old duty as bearers of the Workum coat of arms. We sympathise with these ancient, rather naive-looking animals, but their theatrical pose also strikes us as silly. By setting the lions on the ground and giving them dimensions that are larger than life, I have made them leading actors in the Workum fountain project. The lions are placed farther apart with an empty space between them.
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities

Their task is now to spray water at each other through their claws, and as proud masters of ceremonies (“Behold the City of Workum!”) to hold in their outstretched paws not a symbolic coat of arms but the living reality of the city. This space, which once had been occupied by heraldic symbolism, now forms a gateway to real life. The lions’ foolish pose − one leg on the ground, the other waving freely in the air − invites comic interaction, although you do have to take the playful jets of water into account. Thus the space between the two figures becomes an active space that you must approach with caution − if you don’t want to get wet, that is! The lions were carved from Accoya wood by a local artist and realised by three Workum companies. They look like double-sided figures in which the back is the same as the front.’

Cornelia Parker (United Kingdom, 1956) lives and works in London. Parker finds the inspiration for her sculptures and monumental installations in everyday objects and very common images from art and culture, to which she imparts multiple new meanings in surprising ways. These objects can be blown up, hung up, doubled or stretched. In ‘Landscape with Gun and Tree’, for example, the rifle is as big as the substantial tree it’s leaning against. Parker likes to collaborate with others, as in the embroidered version of Magna Carta, in which she invited a great number of people, both unknown and famous, to embroider with her. Parker exhibits her work worldwide in large galleries and museums, and has made several works for public spaces. She has received numerous awards, and in 2010 she was the first female artist to be appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire. In 2017 she was appointed ‘Official Artist of the 2017 UK General Election’, a unique and very honourable position.

Fountains