A large-scale sculpture by acclaimed 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—comprises the fourth annual installation of site-specific works commissioned for The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.
Nearly 30 feet high, the sculpture 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, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) evokes the psychological associations embedded in architectural spaces. It is set atop The Met, high above Central Park—providing an unusual contrast to the Manhattan skyline.
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.
Cornelia Parker was born in Cheshire, England, in 1956. Parker studied at the Gloucestershire College of Art and Design and at Wolverhampton Polytechnic before receiving an M.A. from the University of Reading in 1982. She first came to public attention through her early exhibitions, with a body of work combining a fascination with material culture and popular iconography; she has transformed found objects, often through destructive processes, making the familiar extraordinary, mutable, and often tragicomic.
Cornelia Parker “PsychoBarn” | filmed by Out of Sync | NYC May 2016
On view | April 19-October 31 2016
Artworks courtesy | Cornelia Parker | The Met
Text | The Met Museum
© Out of Sync 2017