Featured artist: Matthew Barney | ITSLIQUID

Featured artist: Matthew Barney

Art | July 20, 2012 |

Matthew Barney, Cremaster 4, 1994. Still image

Matthew Barney

Matthew Barney is considered by the most of the American critics, as the top of the ongoing aesthetic research. Submerged in sculpture, performance, photography, drawing and film, he is an imagist talent with an unconstrained creativity and visionarinesses. Expert on anatomy and mythology, athlete and dynamic artist, he has created body-centric works that explore the transcendence of physical restraints: a sort of aesthetic athleticism or athletic aestheticism, that uses athletic means for aesthetic ends.

Matthew Barney, Cremaster 4, 1994. Still image

His films are full of references to Bunuel, Kubrick, Lynch, classical art and sports iconography, storical, cultural and mythological events. They evolved around the idea that form cannot materialize or mutate unless it struggles against resistance in the process (idea developed out of his personal experience as athlete) and around his own theory of a three-level aesthetic system based on “Situation” (a phase of undefined potential energy), “Condition” (when energy is elaborated like a bolus) and “Production” zones (the result of transformation). Running alongside the key theme of superhuman physical ideal, is the conception of sports as contemporary rituals and competitions associated to masculine identity.

He has often considered as a “depraved artist” because of the constant presence of explicit sexuality in his works. His sculptures, photos and drawings are the “framework” and “rubble” of his films. Barney is obsessed by unusual materials such as petroleum jelly (with which makes statues that don’t melt down thanks to refrigerated systems), milky white silicone, syrupy fluids, metals and chromium plating.

Matthew Barney, Cremaster 3, 2002. Still image

Barney’s first artworks, Drawing Restraint series (1988-1993), analyzed the use of physical resistance in attempt to create the fundamental component of drawing: a graphic mark which was both a indices of the energy expended to complete it and a representational marking. His epic Cremaster Cycle (1994-2002) was described by Jonathan Jones in The Guardian as “one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema”. A genital cosmogony in which the cremaster muscle is a metaphor of the process of sexual differentiation and the intrauterine life is an allegory of the strenuous fight to pass from an undifferentiated state of energy to a defined one. Consisting of five feature-length films, the series progress from a state of undifferentiated gender (a fully ascended cremaster muscle, represented by the floating Goodyear Blimps and other symbols), through the organism’s struggle to resist gender definition, to the inevitable point where maleness can no longer be denied (complete descent of the cremaster and release of the testes).

Matthew Barney, Cremaster 5, 1997. Still image

The cycle started in 1994 with Cremaster 4 and continued with the number 1 (1995), 5 (1997), 2 (1999) and 3 at the end (2002). If we analyze the number’s order (4,1,5,2,3), we can observe that the pentagon is a key figure: 4+1 and 2+3 is 5, and number 5 is in the middle (a reference to Aristotle’s five acts of tragedy). The style and characteristics of Cremaster are varied: it’s dynamic and analytic, with the structural presence of music and hardly dialogues; based on dreamy and surreal images with cold and distant framing that creates a sort of “static movement” like a fashion photography. The iconography is multivalent and allusive; objects and images, always striking, bizarre and seductive, function simultaneously on various levels of meaning. Nancy Spector, on Guggenheim Museum’s catalogue about Matthew Barney, says that “the Cremaster cycle is a force field, an entity with its own energy and momentum that has evolved and expanded during the past eight years. Its creator, Matthew Barney, developed and nurtured this total work of art with passion, brilliance, great humor, and an attention to detail that can only be described as fetishistic”.

Matthew Barney, Drawing the restraint 9, 2005. Still image

Born in San Francisco in 1965, Barney moved to New York City, where he was introduced to the art scene and graduated from Yale University in 1989. With Cremaster cycle he won the Europa 2000 prize (1993) and the Hugo Boss Prize (1996), and it was exhibited in some of the most important museums of the world: Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of New York.

more. www.cremaster.net | www.drawingrestraint.net

Are you an artist, architect, designer? Would you like to be featured on ITSLIQUID platform? Send an e-mail to info@itsliquid.com or fill the form below

RELATED POSTS


FEATURED DESIGNER: Lee Alexander McQueen

Fashion | October 27, 2020

Alexander McQueen was born in London on March 17th 1969, the youngest of six children. He left school at the age of 16 and was offered an apprenticeship at the traditional Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard and then at neighbouring Gieves and Hawkes, both masters in the technical construction of clothing. From there he moved to the theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans where he mastered 6 methods of pattern cutting from the melodramatic 16th Century to the razor sharp tailoring which has become a McQueen signature. Read more


INTERVIEW: EDUARDO MORENO

Interviews | October 19, 2020

"Maybe the world changed me more than how I tried to change it… ecumenic failure." E. M. Since very short age, exposed with intensity to every form of art and diverse disciplines, dancer Eduardo Moreno rediscovers, after ten years as an expert on environment and social projects, abstraction as a new way to express artistically in all confirmed levels. Read more


FEATURED DESIGNER: Isabel Marant

Fashion | October 18, 2020

It all started in 1989 when Isabel Marant launched Twen, her first knitwear and jersey brand, at 22 years old. She held her first show in her own name in 1995 in the courtyard of a squat, with her friends as models. Read more


Laboratorio Donà

Fashion | October 17, 2020

Patrizia Donà is a successor of the long family tradition originating from the island of Murano, Venice. During her childhood, she used to spend many summers in a family manufacture, helping putting together crystal parts of Venetian chandeliers, whose production is a unique and unsurpassed process. So Patrizia grew up surrounded by artisanal works, in an atmosphere where striving for perfection and continuous improvement came to her naturally. Later in life, Patrizia Donà moved to Rotterdam where she studied Fashion Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy. She graduated Cum Laude in 2006. Read more


Sign up for our Newsletter.

Enter your email to receive our latest updates!