Saturday, July 01, 2006

Matthew Barney

From the "Cremaster" Cycle.

From "Drawing Restraint 9".

From the "Cremaster" Cycle.

Matthew Barney has a new film coming out, "Drawing Restraint 9", and while the style appears to be inimitably his, it also seems to be operating on a grander and simultaneously less contrived scale - it has something to do with Shinto, Japanese whalers, and a lot of blood, water and petroleum. I've always had a very ambivalent reaction towards Barney - I find his visuals remarkable and inspiring beyond words, but at the same time, sitting through the entire 400-minute run of the "Cremaster" cycle is simply interminable.

Which is why I'm excited about "Drawing Restraint 9". At 2-and-a-quarter hours in length, you won't end up falling asleep, and the collaborative influence of Barney's wife Björk (she composed the soundtrack and is prominently featured in the film) seems to have forced Barney out of his prior self-indulgence to some extent. While the "Cremaster" cycle was about digitally capturing performance art in motion, "Drawing Restraint 9" incorporates far more filmic techniques. If you're bound and determined to see at least part of the "Cremaster" cycle, take a look at the 30-minute excerpt "The Order", from "Cremaster 3" - it's currently the only part of the cycle available on DVD, and it gives a fairly good impression of the overall nature of the five films. Even more highly recommended, however, is the "Cremaster" book, currently available only in hardcover. It's a beautiful edition with a bevy of incredible photos and stills by Barney and Nancy Spector.

"Drawing Restraint 9" trailer (
youtube) (Quicktime)
"Cremaster" site (