We’re excited to announce that Matthew Barney’s DRAWING RESTRAINT 2, 6 and 17 from his acclaimed DRAWING RESTRAINT series will be on view at the AGO from May 31 to Sept. 28, 2014. Taking place on the fourth floor of the AGO’s contemporary tower, the exhibition of these videos is organized in conjunction with the Luminato Festival 2014. Barney is renowned internationally for his provocative and richly visual sequences of sculpture, video and performance. Elaborate and mysterious, projects such as The CREMASTER Cycle (1994-2001) – a series of five feature-length films – weave mythological narratives and art-historical references.
DRAWING RESTRAINT (1987-present) is a significant and long-term project for Barney in which he proposes art-making as parallel to athletic training: the development of form occurs through resistance. Begun while still a student at Yale, DRAWING RESTRAINT shows the influence of Barney’s background as an athlete and his intent to foreground the physical body and its tensions in a studio practice. The ongoing series DRAWING RESTRAINT comprises drawings, sculpture, photographs and video works emerging from his self-imposed and increasingly complex obstacles and scenarios. Considered together, DRAWING RESTRAINT forms an ongoing proposition for the harnessing of human impulses and drives into a desired output, artistic or otherwise. It demonstrates the underpinnings of Barney’s work, in which the body plays a central role and ritualistic processes of creation are explored through manifold materials, settings and personas.
The earliest work in the series, DRAWING RESTRAINT 1-6 (1987-1989), shows simple studio experiments, where Barney attempts to mark the ceiling and the walls while bouncing on a tilted trampoline or tethered at the thighs with bungee cords. From the 1990s onwards, he began to introduce the spectacular cinematic narratives for which he is best known. DRAWING RESTRAINT 17 (2010), filmed in Switzerland, is a two-channel video bearing Barney’s signature high production value and allegorical storytelling. Usually, in this series, Barney subjects his own body to physical tests; here for the first time, the protagonist is an athletic young Swiss woman, while Barney now plays the removed role of the established artist.
About the artist
Matthew Barney was born in 1967 in San Francisco. Since 1991, his work has been presented worldwide. His most recent project, River of Fundament, is featured in a major new exhibition at Haus der Kunst, Munich, opening March 2014. Barney’s many notable solo exhibitions include: Prayer Sheet with the Wound and the Nail at Schaulager, Basel (2010); DRAWING RESTRAINT at Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2008) and Serpentine Gallery, London (2007); and The CREMASTER Cycle at the Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; and Artangel, London (2002). Barney was the recipient of the Europa 2000 Prize at the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993 and the Hugo Boss Prize in 1996. He lives and works in New York.
On June 7, 2014, join us for Meet the Artist: Matthew Barney, when he will be in conversation with Luminato Festival Artist Director Jorn Weisbrodt and our curator of modern and contemporary art, Kitty Scott.