Matthew Barney – Cremaster 1

by fashionartbooks

Cremaster 1 was the second film in Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle to be produced, created one year after Cremaster 4 which I have previously covered. The stage for this film is the Bronco Stadium in Boise Idaho, Barney’s hometown. In this film, a troupe of dancers stand on the bright blue AstroTurf of the playing field whilst two blimps fly overhead. In each blimp are four air hostesses that sit and tend to a table covered in grapes with a sculpture at it’s centre. Underneath each table resides the Goodyear character, occupying both blimps at the same time. From beneath the tables Goodyear starts to pry a hole in the tabletop, through which she collects the grapes. As the grapes fall to the ground, the camera switches to the playing field below where the dancers recreate the pattern formed by the grapes in the blimps above. As the pattern of the grapes shifts, so too do the dancers. As the grapes and chorus girls form the field emblem of the Cremaster Cycle, Goodyear appears on the field holding two smaller blimps, the dancers then change formation to depict the undifferentiated gonadal state that is reinforced by the blimps above and the sculptures on the tables.

The catalogue accompanying the film was produced by Kunsthalle Wien and is now out of print. The book contains numerous stills from the film along with images of drawings and sculptures associated with the project.