UCCA Beijing

Cinema Arts “Matthew Barney: Redoubt” Screening Series

2019.11.10 - 2019.12.29

Location:  UCCA Auditorium

From September 28, 2019 through January 12, 2020, UCCA presents “Matthew Barney: Redoubt,” a major new body of work realized between 2016 and 2019 that marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in China. The exhibition includes an eponymous two-hour film that traces the story of a wolf hunt in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountain range, intertwining the theme of the hunt with those of mythology and artistic creation. Also featured are five monumental sculptures, more than fifty engravings and electroplated copper plates, and an artist-conceived catalogue.

During the exhibition, UCCA will screen the entirety of the “CREMASTER Cycle” and River of Fundament, from the dates of November to December 29. Matthew Barney is an American artist who works in sculpture, photography, drawing, and film. Beginning as a young artist at Yale University, his early works were privately filmed actions that evolved into sculptural installations combined with performance and video. Between 1994 and 2002, he created the “CREMASTER Cycle,” a series of five films described by Jonathan Jones in The Guardian as “one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema.” The series doesn't have a full story or dialogue, just grotesque plot pieces, images, sounds, and imaginary makeup, props, scenes, and character-modeling. In 2007, Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler began a new collaborative project inspired by American author Norman Mailer's 1983 novel Ancient Evenings, set in pharaonic Egypt. The project was conceived as a nontraditional opera with a series of one-time-only live acts performed across the American landscape. The film River of Fundament combines documentation of these three live acts with scenes set in a reconstruction of Norman Mailer’s brownstone apartment in Brooklyn Heights.

Schedule

11.10 (Sun)13:00-13:42 Cremaster Cycle 4

11.10 (Sun)14:00-14:40 Cremaster Cycle 1

11.24 (Sun)13:00-13:54 Cremaster Cycle 5

11.24 (Sun)14:00-15:19 Cremaster Cycle 2

12.15 (Sun)13:00-16:01 Cremaster Cycle 3

12.29 (Sun) 13:00-19:50 River of Fundament

 

Cremaster 1

Director: Matthew Barney

Starring: Marti Domination, Gemma Bourdon Smith, Kathleen Crepeau

Genre: Short / Musical

Country: USA

Runtime: 40 min.

The first film in the cycle (second in production) takes place on the blue Astroturf football field of Bronco Stadium in Barney’s hometown of Boise, Idaho. Two Goodyear blimps hover above the arena, each with a glamorous parcel of flight attendants in Isaac Mizrahi–designed uniforms and each with a stowaway played by legendary dominatrix Marti Domination. Using notations made of grapes, she choreographs an armada of chorus girls into patterns of biological cells forming the contours of an androgynous body that symbolizes, for the artist, a state of pure potential.

 

Cremaster 2

Director: Matthew Barney

Starring: Norman Mailer, Matthew Barney, Anonymous

Genre: Drama

Country: USA

Runtime: 79 min.

The second film in the cycle (fourth in production) is a dark Gothic Western that feverishly tracks three generations of condemned murderer Gary Gilmore’s family from the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 to his execution in 1977. The story line hews closely to the historical Gilmore, while also exploring a fanciful parallel plot linking his clairvoyant grandmother to legendary escape artist Harry Houdini (played by Norman Mailer, author of The Executioner’s Song).

 

Cremaster 3

Director: Matthew Barney

Starring: Norman Mailer, Matthew Barney, Anonymous

Genre: Drama / Fantasy

Country: USA

Runtime: 182 min.

The final film of the five-part cycle ranks as the most mesmerizing and elaborately designed. It is set in New York’s 1930s gangster milieu against a background comprised of the Chrysler Building’s art-deco interiors, the Saratoga racetrack, the spiraling architecture of the Guggenheim Museum, and monumental landscapes such as the mythological Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. With Cremaster 3, Barney again combines his outspoken fascination for architecture and his preoccupation with the body, dance, and horror. Look for sculptor Richard Serra, who plays the architect antagonist.

 

Cremaster 4

Director: Matthew Barney

Starring: Matthew Barney, Dave Molyneux, Graham Molyneux

Genre: Short / Fantasy

Country: USA / France / UK

Runtime: 42 min.

The fourth film in the cycle (first in production) most clearly shows Barney’s consistent utilization of landscape as character and establishes many of the themes that the artist weaves through the subsequent films. Shot on the Isle of Man, it combines Celtic customs and lore with sidecar motorcycle racing and a libidinal quest. Deep in the heart of the film is a tap-dancing ram-in-training (played by Barney) who is aided by a quartet of androgynous fairies as he engages in a series of challenges on the road to maturity.

 

Cremaster 5

Director: Matthew Barney

Starring: Ursula Andress, Matthew Barney

Genre: Musical / Drama

Country: USA

Runtime: 55 min.

The fifth film (third in production) is a sumptuously moribund romance. Shot in Budapest, its over-the-top components include a spectacularly sepulchral Ursula Andress, a flock of trained Jacobean pigeons, gamboling water nymphs, and the Budapest’s State Opera House orchestra. With a score by Johnathan Bepler (longtime Barney collaborator) and a libretto by the artist, the film is a sustained operatic monologue sung by Hungarian soprano Adrienne Csengery and acted by Andress.

 

River of Fundament

Director: Matthew Barney

Starring: John Buffalo Mailer, Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Genre: Fantasy / Opera

Country: USA

Runtime: 410 min.

In 2007, Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler began a new collaborative project inspired by American author Norman Mailer's 1983 novel Ancient Evenings, set in pharaonic Egypt. The project was conceived as a nontraditional opera with a series of one-time-only live acts performed across the American landscape. The film River of Fundament combines documentation of these three live acts with scenes set in a reconstruction of Norman Mailer's brownstone apartment in Brooklyn Heights. Barney and Bepler’s script reimagines Mailer as his own protagonist who reincarnates three times in three different bodies by magically entering the womb of his wife Hathfertiti.

Collaborator

Matthew Barney Studio

Projection Support: CFG-BARCO

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