Matthew Barney: Cremaster Cycle
Sat, October 11, 2003 – Sun, October 12, 2003, Film Screening

»The Cremaster Cycle« [35 mm, colour and Dolby SR] can be seen in full for the first time at the ZKM Karlsruhe during the opening weekend of the fast forward exhibition. 

Matthew Barney (b. 1967 in San Francisco) has made a name for himself on the international art scene thanks to his use of very idiosyncratic imagery full of metaphors and symbols. Typical of his films and sculptures are hybrid, mythical narrative structures and motifs that give rise to a complicated and self-contained aesthetic system.  In the Cremaster Cycle, a five-part film epic, Barney produces a starkly monumentalised work of fantasy arranged in a stringent symmetry that incorporates such legendary figures as the American football star, Jim Otto, the escape artist, Harry Houdini, and the dual murderer, Gary Gilmore.

»Cremaster 4«, the first work in the series, dates from 1994. Deliberately avoiding any chronological order, Barney then shot »Cremaster 1« [1995], »Cremaster 5« [1997] and »Cremaster 2« [1999]. »Cremaster 3« [2001], which lasts almost three hours, has seldom been shown in public. »Cremaster«– a medical term for the muscle that lifts or lowers the testicles depending on the ambient temperature – is a symbol of the conflict with will power that cannot control the muscle. Barney invents surreal imagery of extravagant abundance and strict choreographic precision to illustrate this. Intense images focusing on the body and lavish costumes are used to blend themes from sport, medicine, biology, sexuality, history and mythology. Carefully selected scenes, such as the opulent Gellert Baths in Budapest and the Boise sports stadium in Idaho, and sculptural stage props made from unusually sensuous materials, such as wax, vaseline and salt, like the copy of a famous bear from the Chrysler Building made of vaseline and a raised arena made of salt, create a metaphorical universe that depicts the system of organic reproduction.


Saturday 11 October

A ticket for the Media Museum plus the Special Exhibition ensures free entry to the films [films alone: € 3.10]

14.00 to 16.00 hrs 

»CREMASTER 1« [1995, 40:30]
»CREMASTER 2« [1999, 79:00]

19.00 to 22.00 hrs 

»CREMASTER 3« [2001, 03:01:59:03]
[I: 01:33:02, II: 01:28:56]

Sunday 12 October

A ticket for the Media Museum plus the Special Exhibition ensures free entry to the films [films alone: € 3.10]

16.00 to 18.00 hrs 

»CREMASTER 4« [1994, 42:16]
»CREMASTER 5« [1997, 54:30]

Organization / Institution