PsychoBarn

Cornelia Parker
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Simultaneously authentic and illusory, the fourth Roof Garden Commission of the Met undertaken by Cornelia Parker evokes the psychological associations embedded in architectural spaces.

A large-scale sculpture by British artist Cornelia Parker, inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper and by two emblems of American architecture – the classic red barn and the Bates family’s sinister mansion from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho – will comprise the fourth annual installation of site-specific works commissioned for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.

Nearly 30 feet high, “The Roof Garden Commission”: Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) is fabricated from a deconstructed red barn and seems at first to be a genuine house, but is in fact a scaled-down structure consisting of two facades propped up from behind with scaffolding. Simultaneously authentic and illusory, the sculpture evokes the psychological associations embedded in architectural spaces.

Parker incorporates the blood-red siding, wood floors, whitewashed posts, and corrugated steel roofing from an old barn in Transitional Object (PsychoBarn). Even in their transformed state, these materials retain evidence that the barn spent a century as part of a farm in upstate New York. The title of Parker’s work alludes to the psychoanalytic theory of transitional objects used by children to help negotiate their self-identity as separate from their parents. The piece flickers between the physical reality of the barn and the cinematic fiction of the house, bringing up their respective ties to comfort and discomfort. Neither entirely real nor completely false, it vacillates unnervingly between its identities.

Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) is set atop The Met, high above Central Park – providing an unusual contrast to the Manhattan skyline.

PsychoBarn
 

Installation view of Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. Photo Alex Fradkin. Photo courtesy the artist

 

Installation view (detail) of Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. Photo Alex Fradkin. Photo courtesy the artist

 

Cornelia Parker, 2015. Photo Jackie Neale