Hard-ground etching on copper plate, printed with graphite ink onto Japanese paper, in a bespoke frame designed by
Paper dimensions: 34 x 41 cm [13.4 x 16.1 inches].
Image dimensions: 16.5 x 24 cm [6.5 x 9.45 inches].
Edition of 20 prints, signed and numbered recto.
Produced by Matthew Barney and Two Palms Press.
This work has been generously donated to the Whitechapel Gallery by the artist and Two Palms Press.
About the work
Matthew Barney’s edition for the Whitechapel Gallery relates to his recent film River of Fundament (2014). The film transports the myth-laden narrative of Norman Mailer’s novel Ancient Evenings (1983) – itself based on the Egyptian Book of the Dead – into a contemporary American setting. The project encompasses numerous related artworks including, drawings, sculpture and performance.
In the film, the recurring motif of a graduated ascent to power is articulated in the material language of the metals and minerals that take form in sculpture. Base elements — zinc, sulfur, iron, copper — give way to yellow metal alloys — bronze and brass — that emulate, but fail to reproduce, the quality of gold. Barney's edition is printed with graphite ink, a base element that appears throughout the film and it's related artworks
Hidden within the intricate lines of this exquisite print are the outlines of the American Bison, the last of the three animal protagonists in River of Fundament. The work’s title, Investment, describes the stage in the sculptural casting process where the pattern is submerged into the mold material, before being displaced by the casting medium. This print, like Barney’s sculptures from the film, translates motifs from River of Fundament into autonomous works of art, bearing witness to these set-piece performances while recasting their themes of decay, regeneration and alchemical metamorphosis.
About the artist
Matthew Barney (b. 1967) is one of America’s most significant living artists; over the past two decades he has evolved a practice that encompasses filmmaking, performance, drawing, painting, and sculpture. Barney lives and works in New York and is represented by Gladstone Gallery (New York), Regen Projects (Los Angeles) and Sadie Coles HQ (London).
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Current and recent major exhibitions include River of Fundament, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2014) and Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania (November 2014 – April 2015); and Subliming Vessel: The Drawings of Matthew Barney, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York (2013), and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (2013-2014). His solo exhibition The Cremaster Cycle, organised by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, travelled to the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He has received numerous awards including the Aperto prize at the 1993 Venice Biennale and the 1996 Hugo Boss Award. The artist lives and works in New York.