Fashion.Art.Books

An archive of my ever expanding book and print collection

Tag: Sadie Coles

Matthew Barney – Cremaster 2

Cremaster 2, released in 1999, was the fourth installment of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle. The film has a circular narrative that intertwines the life and death of murderer Gary Gilmore with Harry Houdini who was rumoured to be Gilmore’s grandfather. Throughout the film bees are used as an allegory of Gilmore’s struggle with his destiny. The film opens with a seance where the spirit of Houdini is summoned and the conception of Gilmore is seen. The film then progresses to the murder of the gas station attendant that resulted in Gilmore’s capture. In this sequence, two Mustangs are joined together on a gas station forecourt, depicting the relationship between Gilmore and his partner Nicole Baker, both of who owned similar cars. The shooting of the station attendant moves the narrative to the trial and to Gilmore’s execution which is portrayed as a bull rodeo to the death on the Utah salt flats. In death, Gilmore’s life is linked back to Houdini through the depiction of his grandmother meeting with Houdini at the Columbian Exposition Hall, an act that sets in motion the circular narrative.

The catalogue produced for the film contains numerous production shots, drawings and associated artwork. As with all of his books, it was lavishly produced with numerous 4 panel foldouts and comes in a blue plastic slipcase, embossed with the Cremaster 2 emblem.

(click images to enlarge)

Cover

Matthew Barney – Djed (A Libretto for Ancient Evenings)

Matthew Barney’s latest project is a re-imagining and re-interpretation of Norman Mailer’s Ancient Evenings as an opera performed live in seven acts over a number of years. This epic undertaking transposes Mailer’s hypersexual story of Egyptian gods and the seven stages of death and reincarnation on to the rise and fall of American car industry, casting Cremaster 3’s 1967 Chrysler car as the main protagonist in the first act, REN. In this act we witness the dismantling and destruction of the Chrysler as its badges and emblems are removed, signifying the first stage of death, Ren, the loss of your secret name. In the second act, KHU, the Chrysler Imperial is reincarnated as a Pontiac Firebird which makes its way through the streets of Detroit before crashing over the side of a bridge into the river below. The “body” of the car is ceremoniously transported down the Detroit river where it is then fed in to the furnaces of a disused steel mill. The resulting molten iron is then released and poured into a cast of the underside of a car. Throughout all of these performances characters come and go performing the opera, created in collaboration with Jonathan Bepler who also worked on the Cremaster Cycle. Another returning collaborator is Aimee Mullins who takes on the part of Isis. For the remaining acts, the performances will move from Detroit to New York and will be performed over the coming years. Whilst the project was conceived as a live action piece, Barney has been filming each of the performances which will hopefully be exhibited in the future.

In 2011, Barney had a solo exhibition at Gladstone Gallery in New York, at the centre of which was the cast of the car created during the Khu performance. In addition a number of drawings were presented which map the development of the project. As part of the exhibition, Barney produced a libretto, a short form booklet describing the project and the performances to date. In addition to the text, the booklet also contained a number of shots from the performances along with images of the sculptures and drawings. The libretto was produced in an edition of 2500 and was given away free as part of the exhibition.

Matthew Barney - Djed

Matthew Barney - Djed

Matthew Barney - Djed

Matthew Barney - Djed

Matthew Barney - Djed

Matthew Barney - Djed

Matthew Barney - Djed

Matthew Barney - Djed

Matthew Barney - Djed

Matthew Barney – New Work

This catalogue accompanied Matthew Barney’s first major exhibition at San Francisco MoMA in 1992.  The works in this catalogue really shows the basis from which all his future work has developed. The documented videos show his interest in athleticism and the body; it is also in these works where his lifelong connection to working with petroleum jelly is first seen. The catalogue contains video stills from the rather imaginatively titled MILE HIGH Threshold: FLIGHT with the ANAL SADISTIC WARRIOR,  in which Barney, naked save for climbing apparatus, ascends and descends gallery walls and a refrigerated nether space. Scenes and stills from Delay of Game in which Barney, this time dressed as a woman in a white turban, bathing suit, and high heels, pantomimes football-field strategies, are also included along with photographs of Barney’s vaseline covered sculptures.

Matthew Barney - New Work

Matthew Barney - New Work

Matthew Barney - New Work

Matthew Barney - New Work

Matthew Barney – Cremaster 4

I am a huge admirer and collector of Matthew Barney’s work (as you will see as the blog develops); it appeals to both the art admirer and the medical lecturer in me. I first became aware of him around 2002 when Cremaster 3 was exhibited as the final installment of the Cremaster Cycle. The Cremaster Cycle consists of five films which were created out of order over an eight year time period; The first of the films was Cremaster 4 in 1994, and the last, Cremaster 3. To explain the project would need a blog of its own but Matthew Barney has created a website which gives a great overview of the project. Each of the films has a catalogue associated with it, some more easy to come by than the others. Cremaster 4 is the holy grail of the catalogues and its hard to find a decent copy for less than £400. The catalogue is an oversized paperback and has numerous foldouts.

Matthew Barney is represented by Gladstone Gallery in the USA and Sadie Coles HQ in the UK.

Matthew Barney - Cremaster 4

Matthew Barney - Cremaster 4

Matthew Barney - Cremaster 4

Matthew Barney - Cremaster 4

Matthew Barney - Cremaster 4

Matthew Barney - Cremaster 4

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