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The Cremaster Cycle

The Cremaster Cycle

3 – 21 September 2011

Esteemed American artist Matthew Barney is best known for The Cremaster Cycle (1995-2002), an extraordinary five-part film project accompanied by related sculptures, photographs and drawings. Created out of sequence over an eight year period, together the films have created a unique aesthetic universe of densely layered symbolism. Throughout the series Barney mixes anatomical and psychosexual allusions with prosthetic effects and draws on a vast range of mythological and historical characters, locations as well as his own autobiography.

The title refers to the male cremaster muscle that raises and lowers the male reproductive system according to temperature, external stimulation, or fear. Barney uses this biological process as a metaphor to explore the evolution of form through conditions of ascension and decension. In the formation of male sexual development, this can be tracked from an embryonic state of being undifferentiated, through resistance to an eventual state where it cannot avoid becoming differentiated. For Barney the biological also applies to the creative process – from the spark of an idea to its final resolution – and represents a condition of pure potentiality.

Cremaster 1 1996 Ages 18+

Cremaster 1 1996 Ages 18+

Sat 3 Sept 1.00pm (with Cremaster 4), Sat 17 Sept 11.00am (with Cremaster 2) and Sun 18 Sept 1.00pm (with Cremaster 2) / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, MONO, 40 MINUTES, USA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: MATTHEW BARNEY / PRODUCERS: MATTHEW BARNEY, BARBARA GLADSTONE / CINEMATOGRAPHER: PETER STRIETMANN / EDITOR: KAREN HEYSON / MUSIC: JONATHAN BEPLER

Cremaster 1 parodies the musical extravaganzas of Busby Berkeley as filtered through the lens of Leni Riefenstahl's Third Reich athletics. Chorus girls form shifting outlines of reproductive organs on a football field, their movements determined from above by a blonde starlet, who miraculously inhabits two Goodyear blimps simultaneously and creates anatomical diagrams by lining up rows of grapes.’ The Guggenheim

Cremaster 2 1999 Ages 18+

Cremaster 2 1999 Ages 18+

Sat 3 Sept 3.00pm (with Cremaster 5), Sat 17 Sept 11.00am (with Cremaster 1) and Sun 18 Sept 1.00pm (with Cremaster 1) / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, STEREO, 79 MINUTES, USA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: MATTHEW BARNEY / PRODUCERS: MATTHEW BARNEY, BARBARA GLADSTONE, CHELSEA ROMERSA / CINEMATOGRAPHER: PETER STRIETMANN / EDITOR: MIKE BUDAY / MUSIC: JONATHAN BEPLER / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ÁCCENT FILM ENTERTAINMENT

Cremaster 2 is a gothic Western premised loosely on the real-life story of Gary Gilmore, who was executed in Utah for the murder of two men. Gilmore's biography is conveyed through a series of fantastical sequences including an occultist séance enacted with ectoplasm and bee pollen to signify his conception and a prison rodeo staged in a cast salt arena to represent his death by firing squad. The film's plot unfolds to question the inevitability of man's fate as it is reflected in, and witnessed by, the expansive landscape.’ The Guggenheim

Cremaster 3 2002 Ages 18+

Cremaster 3 2002 Ages 18+

Sat 10 Sept 2.00pm, Sat 17 Sept 2.00pm and Wed 21 Sept 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 182 MINUTES, USA, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: MATTHEW BARNEY / PRODUCERS: MATTHEW BARNEY, BARBARA GLADSTONE, CHELSEA ROMERSA / CINEMATOGRAPHER: PETER STRIETMANN / EDITORS: MATTHEW BARNEY, CHRISTOPHER SEGUINE, PETER STRIETMANN / MUSIC: JONATHAN BEPLER / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ÁCCENT FILM ENTERTAINMENT

Cremaster 3 is part-zombie-thriller, part gangster film. As the final installment in the cycle, the film is a distillation of the artist's major themes and signature aesthetic devices, filtered through an elaborate symbolic matrix involving Freemasonry, Celtic lore, and Art Deco desires. Set in New York's Chrysler Building, the film also includes detours to the Guggenheim Museum's Frank Lloyd Wright building, to the harness track in Saratoga Springs, to Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, and to Fingal's Cave, on Staffa, an island in the Scottish Hebrides.’ The Guggenheim

Cremaster 4 1995 Ages 18+

Cremaster 4 1995 Ages 18+

Sat 3 Sept 1.00pm (with Cremaster 1), Sat 17 Sept 6.00pm (with Cremaster 5) and Sun 18 Sept 3.15pm (with Cremaster 5) / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, MONO, 42 MINUTES, USA/FRANCE/UK, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: MATTHEW BARNEY / PRODUCERS: MATTHEW BARNEY, HERVÉ CHANDÈS, JAMES LINGWOOD / CINEMATOGRAPHER: PETER STRIETMANN / EDITORS: SCHUYLER GRANT, ERIC SOLSTEIN / MUSIC: JOE BRADY / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ÁCCENT FILM ENTERTAINMENT

Cremaster 4 is set on the Isle of Man—a topographical body punctured by orifices and passageways—where a feverish motorbike race traverses the landscape, a dandified, tap-dancing satyr writhes his way through a treacherous underwater canal, and three burly, ambigendered fairies picnic on a grassy knoll. Part vaudeville, part Victorian comedy of manners, and part road-movie, this film portrays sheer drive in its eternal struggle to surpass itself.’ The Guggenheim

Cremaster 5 1997 Ages 18+

Cremaster 5 1997 Ages 18+

Sat 3 Sept 3.00pm (with Cremaster 2), Sat 17 Sept 6.00pm (with Cremaster 4) and Sun 18 Sept 3.15pm (with Cremaster 4) / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, STEREO, 55 MINUTES, USA, HUNGARIAN / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: MATTHEW BARNEY / PRODUCERS: MATTHEW BARNEY, BARBARA GLADSTONE / CINEMATOGRAPHER: PETER STRIETMANN / EDITOR: MIKE BUDAY / MUSIC: JONATHAN BEPLER / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ÁCCENT FILM ENTERTAINMENT

Cremaster 5 is set against the Baroque backdrop of the Hungarian State Opera House. Performed as a lyric opera complete with ribboned Jacobin pigeons, a love-lorn queen, and her tragic hero, this narrative flows from the gilded proscenium arch of the theatre to the aqueous underworld of Budapest's Danube River to humid Gellért baths inhabited by hermaphroditic water-sprites frolicking in a pool of pearl bubbles.’ The Guggenheim