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A show celebrating Parker's innovative career is one of the highlight's of the Whitworth's grand reopening.

Cornelia Parker has worked on an array of unusual projects since coming to prominence in the 1990s – from creating earplugs out of fluff gathered in the Whispering Gallery of St Paul's Cathedral to orchestrating a performance of Tilda Swinton asleep in a vitrine.

This project sees Parker team up with Nobel Prize-winning professor Kostya Novoselov and other scientists from University of Manchester. Working together, they have extracted microscopic samples of graphite from drawings by William Blake, Turner, Constable and Picasso and a letter written by the physicist who split the atom. These have been used to create graphene - the thinnest and strongest known material - from which the artist has developed a new series of work.

The Blake graphene has a particularly special role. On the opening night, when activated by the breath of a physicist, the sample will trigger a meteor shower firework in Whitworth Park. Parker was inspired by the artist's watercolour The Ancient of Days, which is part of the gallery's collection.

The exhibition also features several key pieces drawn from across Parker's career – including her large-scale installations and ongoing series of bullet, explosion and poison and antidote drawings. The latter are created using black ink containing snake venom and white ink containing anti venom.

The Whitworth

The University Of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER

0161 275 7450


Opening times

Tuesday to Sunday - 10am-5pm

Last entry 4.30pm

We look forward to welcoming you to the Whitworth, gallery, shop, and café.

Discover our exhibitions and spaces and come see what's new. From, wallpapers, textiles, sculptures, and prints to those hidden gems, we have something for everyone. Relax in the cafe, and enjoy panoramic views of the park and art garden, as the seasons change.


Parkside Entrance: 3 gallery-designated disabled bays are directly beside our park entrance along Denmark road. A short step-free path from our park gates leads you to the parkside entrance.

Oxford Road Entrance: There are an additional 2 disabled bays further along Denmark Road for the surrounding buildings. If using these you can enter through our main gates (across the bicycle lanes) and up shallow gradient ramps leading to our automatic doors, which open inwards.

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