Matthew Barney: Drawing Restraint: Volume V: 1987-2007
Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint series imagines mythic interactions and subtle energy currents that meld legend and technology in dark, non-allegorical fairytales. In the film Drawing Restraint 9, the tension is strung between creative discipline (restraint, orderliness, pattern) and protean creativity (oceanic chaos)—a theme that is symbolically enacted in the construction and transformation of a vast sculpture of liquid Vaseline called The Field. Over the course of the film, The Field is molded, poured, bisected and re-formed on the deck of a whaling ship. These shifts in the sculpture's state are then echoed in the tale of The Guests, two visitors to the ship (played by Barney and Bjork) who, locked in a lover's embrace and breathing through blowhole orifices in the back of their necks, cut away each other's feet and thighs with flensing knives to reveal nascent whale tails. In conjunction with the Serpentine Gallery's 2007 exhibition, this catalogue for Drawing Restraint 9 and the Drawing Restraint series to date features autonomous sketches, drawings, sculptures and photographs. It offers an assessment of the project's fusion of sculpture, architecture, music, computer-generated effects and prosthetics that draws from mythology, history, sports and biology to explore the interplay between polymorphous desire and applied order.