Matthew Barney. Cremaster 3

Images from Cremaster 3 by MATTHEW BARNEY
Written and Directed by MATTHEW BARNEY

American visual artist and filmmaker MATTHEW BARNEY is best known as the producer and creator of the Cremaster Cycle, a project consisting of five feature length films and related sculptures, photographs, drawings, and artist’s books. The Cremaster Cycle was made over a period of eight years (1994–2002) and culminated in a major museum exhibition organized by NANCY SPECTOR of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, which traveled to the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and the Musée d’art Moderne in Paris from 2002-03.

Cremaster 3 (2002) is set in New York City and narrates the construction of the Chrysler Building, which is in itself a character – host to inner, antagonistic forces at play for access to the process of (spiritual) transcendence. These factions find form in the struggle between Hiram Abiff or the Architect (played by RICHARD SERRA), and the Entered Apprentice (played by BARNEY himself ), who are both working on the building.

Cremaster cycle trailer

Dense, compacted and multi-layered, the cycle reaches back to the mythology, biology and geology of creation and forward into a world of modified genetics and mutating identity. While these film stills presented above cannot capture the same drama and emotion as the moving film, it nevertheless presents the artist’s ideas in a whirling tapestry of extreme beauty, violence, horror, and compelling narrative.

The cremaster is the muscle that pulls the testicles up in cold temperatures, keeping them warm. It not only responds to temperature, but like a lizard brain, to fear.

I really encourage you to view his exhibition at Schaulager in Basel until 3 October 2010

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