© Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain - Matthew Barney SECONDARY

Matthew Barney - SECONDARY
du 08 juin au 08 sept. 2024

Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain
261 boulevard Raspail
75014 Paris


The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presents the first institutional exhibition of Matthew Barney in France in over 10 years. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover the latest video installation by the American artist titled SECONDARY, alongside works specially created for the occasion. To accompany the exhibition, the Fondation Cartier also offers an exceptional program of events and performances.

Filmed in Matthew Barney's sculpture studio in Long Island City, New York, USA—where it was first unveiled in spring 2023—the installation SECONDARY consists of five videos shot on a recreated American football field. For 60 minutes, eleven performers—mainly aging dancers, including the artist—depict the action on the field.

The plot of SECONDARY revolves around the memory of an incident during a professional football game on August 12, 1978: a violent collision between Oakland Raiders defender Jack Tatum and New England Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley, resulting in Stingley's lifelong paralysis. Replayed endlessly in sports media, this tragic event left a lasting impression on American football fans and the young Barney, who was a budding quarterback at the time.

This new work showcases the complex layering of real violence and its representation, as well as its celebration in the sports entertainment industry. It examines the game and its associated culture through a movement semantics developed in collaboration with the performers, choreographer David Thomson, and Barney himself. The result is an intensely physical and corporeal study focusing on each element of the game, from exercises to pre-game rituals, to impact moments and their slow-motion replays.

The exhibition occupies all the spaces of the Fondation Cartier and features for the first time a terracotta sculpture representing a power rack [equipment designed for weightlifting]. This work evokes the material choreography of SECONDARY, in which metal, ceramic, and plastic are manipulated by the performers in real-time. These materials suggest qualities of strength, elasticity, fragility, and memory, each embodying a character in its own way.

The exhibition also includes a selection of Matthew Barney’s early video works titled DRAWING RESTRAINT, begun in 1987 while he was still in art school. Inspired by principles of resistance training, the artist imposed constraints on his body while drawing, subsequently exhibiting the resulting drawings and videos, along with the equipment used, as in situ installations. This series launched Barney’s exploration of the body’s limits and the relationship between constraint and creativity. It is the artist’s earliest work, laying the foundation for the creation of SECONDARY.

On the occasion of this exhibition, Matthew Barney also creates DRAWING RESTRAINT 27, the latest video in his eponymous series, which he will film in the spaces of the Fondation Cartier. This in situ performance will feature Raphael Xavier in the role of Oakland Raiders player Jack Tatum. It will then be shown as part of the exhibition.

Initially edited by the Matthew Barney Studio, a special edition of the magazine SECONDARY will be offered to visitors. It includes unpublished photos and special contributions from the artists involved in SECONDARY.

With this new solo exhibition, the Fondation Cartier celebrates its long-standing collaboration with the American artist, which began thirty years ago with the co-production of his first feature film, CREMASTER 4 (1994). This film was the first step in creating the Cremaster Cycle, an eight-year cinematic journey that culminated in five films. To mark the occasion, the Fondation Cartier is organizing an exclusive screening of the Cremaster Cycle in its entirety at the Christine Cinéma Club on June 29 and 30, 2024.

Les Soirées Nomades at the Fondation Cartier offer a special program around the exhibition, showcasing the work of some of the artists involved in creating SECONDARY, such as composer Jonathan Bepler and performers Wally Cardona, David Thomson, Shamar Watt, and Raphael Xavier. The program includes early works, musical compositions, and a variety of choreographic pieces, covering movement vocabularies from postmodern dance, contact improvisation, krump, and breakdance.

Matthew Barney Born in San Francisco, California, and raised in Boise, Idaho, Matthew Barney now lives and works in New York. A polymorphic artist, his practice encompasses film, performance, sculpture, and drawing. He is renowned for his feature films The Cremaster Cycle (1994-2002), River of Fundament (2014), and Redoubt (2019), as well as his DRAWING RESTRAINT video series (since 1987).

As a sculptor, Barney works with materials such as petroleum jelly, bronze, contemporary polymers, and, for the first time with SECONDARY, terracotta, to create objects and installations intrinsically linked to his cinematic universe.

Matthew Barney has presented major projects in solo exhibitions at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (1995), the Guggenheim, New York (2002), the 21st Century Museum for Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2005), the Morgan Library and Museum, New York (2013), Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2014), Yale University Art Gallery (2019), and Schaulager, Basel, Switzerland (2010 and 2021). Matthew Barney received the Aperto prize at the Venice Biennale (1993), the Hugo Boss Prize (1996), the Kaiser Ring Award in Goslar, Germany (2007), the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award at the 54th San Francisco Film Festival (2011), and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2024).

Commissaire : Juliette Lecorne
Chargée du projet d'exposition : Alessia Pascarella

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