Sunday, December 2, 2007

Matthew Barney, The Faeries and The isle of Man.

"Matthew Barney's Cremaster cycle (1994–2002) is a self-enclosed aesthetic system consisting of five films that explore processes of creation. The cycle unfolds not just cinematically, but also through the photographs, drawings, sculptures, and installations the artist produced in conjunction with each episode. Its conceptual departure point is the male cremaster muscle, that covers the testis. Its function is to raise and lower the scrotum in order to regulate the temperature of the testis and promote spermatogenesis.

The man, the arist, the satyr-Matthew Barney

The project is filled with anatomical allusions to the position of the reproductive organs during the embryonic process of sexual differentiation: Cremaster 1 represents the most "ascended" or undifferentiated state, Cremaster 5 the most "descended" or differentiated.

The cycle repeatedly returns to those moments during early sexual development in which the outcome of the process is still unknown—in Barney's metaphoric universe, these moments represent a condition of pure potentiality. As the cycle evolved over eight years, Barney looked beyond biology as a way to explore the creation of form, employing narrative models from other realms, such as biography, mythology, and geology.

The full series was released in a limited series of 20 sets of DVDs, sold each for at least $100,000, and will not be made available on mass-market DVD. However a 30 minute part of the third film is available on DVD."

For Cremaster 4 the episode is set on the Isle of Man and centers on the Tourist Trophy motorcycle race, re-interpreted as the formative process of sexual differentiation. The racers are deemed Ascending Hack, and Descending Hack, and are followed by Faeries while a Satyr (also played by Barney) journeys to the finish line.

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