© Celluloid Dreams/Alamode

Drawing Restraint 9
U.S.A./Japan 2005

Opening 8 Jun 2006

Directed by: Matthew Barney
Writing credits: Matthew Barney
Principal actors: Matthew Barney, Sosui Oshima, Björk

Artist Matthew Barney is probably the most successful and acclaimed multimedia artist of today, known for his Cremaster Cycle films, three of which showed in Hamburg. Either you understood them or pretended to; either you loved them or you gave intellectual reasons why you hated them. One thing is sure: you don’t leave Barney without an impression and without an opinion. I haven’t seen Drawing Restraint 9, but I did see the documentary of the making of that film, called Matthew Barney: No Restraint, at the 2006 Berlinale. Therefore, I know that Drawing Restraint 9 was filmed on the Nisshin Maru Japanese whaling ship in Nagasaki Bay and required a huge crew of sailors, cameramen, etc. Matthew “marries” his partner, the Icelandic pop singer Bjork, in a Shinto wedding ceremony. She composed the music for the first time in their cooperative works. The music is important, because it, and the beautiful colors, stand in for text which is rare in the film. This is for lovers of contemporary art, to discuss, reject, hate, etc. It’s also for frequent visitors to high-society cocktail parties who want to be able, with one raised eyebrow, to drop a comment about Bjork swimming in sperm (Vaseline) or the correct rigging for capturing whales. In my opinion, the documentary of the “Making of…” might be more interesting to art idiots like myself, since here we are told what we are looking at and in the end actually come to appreciate it. This film promises videos, sculptures, drawings and photographs – it’s just a small part of the whole Barney Drawing Restraint oeuvre (a word I always wanted to drop – see my raised eyebrow?). (Becky Tan)

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