When talking or writing about the American artist Matthew Barney, critics and historians of art always start with the traditional biographic descriptions which in the case of Barney are quite pleasant and are justified by the fact that the artist himself uses autobiographic references in his own oeuvre and has created what it is called since 1969 with the Harald Szeemann's exhibition When attitudes become form, a personal mythology. This is why I will not go through his life but will focus on the notion recently attributed to Matthew Barney of Gesamtkunstwerk and his recent works. Obviously, the most difficult problem to overcome will be the lack of hindsight for an analysis of a contemporary artist. The first European stop for Matthew Barney's last exhibition, Drawing Restraint, was the Serpentine Gallery in London from September 20 to November 11 2007.
[...] Gioni, Matthew Barney, Milan, Electa A. Jones, Presence in Abstentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation in Art Journal, vol Hiver 1997, p.11-18. A. Mahon, Eroticism and Art, New York, Oxford University Press p. 279-281. T. Picard, L'art total: grandeur et misère d'une utopie, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes K. Seward, “Matthew Barney and Beyond”, in Parkett p.58-60. N. Spector, Performing the body in the 1970's in Rose is a rose is a rose: Gender performance in Photography, New York, Guggenheim Museum Publications N. [...]
[...] Spector, “Only the Perverse Fantasy can still save in Matthew Barney: the Cremaster Cycle, New York, Guggenheim Museum Publications p. 3-91. G. Zapperi, Matthew Barney : système de production in Pratiques : réflexions sur l'art Hiver 2006, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, p. 53-68. N. Spector, Matthew Barney in Matthew Barney, Safety Curtain, 2000/2001, Vienna Museum of Progress Interview with [...]
[...] Besides, Matthew Barney finds his direct link with the world of opera when designing the safety curtain for the Vienna State Opera in collaboration with the Museum in Progress of Vienna for the 2000/2001 season. He used his artistic vocabulary inspired from previous works such as the landscape of Bonneville Salt Lake from Cremaster 2 and the characters of satyrs from Drawing Restraint 7. But apart from these obvious and direct links with Wagner, Matthew Barney offers a far more complex relation to the Gesamtkunstwerk conception. [...]
[...] They show Matthew Barney drawing while being attached to too short elastic which pulls him back at each attempt of drawing on the paper sheet or drawing in a boat cabin far too exiguous for him or even with the charcoal fixed in the fish's mouth. The others videos show the rest of the Drawing Restraint's videos to contextualize the whole series back to the performance in the 1980's to the last performed for exhibitions in Korea and Japan. The others rooms of the Serpentine Gallery focuse on two precise sequences of the series: Drawing Restraint 7 and Drawing Restraint 9 whose sculptures, photographs and drawings are exhibited. [...]
[...] Barney moves to the next step by creating sculptures reminding by their shapes scenes of the Cremaster cycle films to be exhibited in galleries or museums. Finally, in Drawing Restraint in parallel to the main narration, the transformation of the Occidental Guests characters, he managed to create sculptures while filming their creation and achieves the total osmosis between sculpture and film. And the construction of the sculpture, through the deconstruction of the matter almost becomes the real thread of the film. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee