SEKU: Here at the Center of Pain is Radiance (2010), by Matthew Barney, via Sadie Coles
Currently on view at Sadie Coles in London are new drawings by Matthew Barney in correlation with his project “Ancient Evenings,” a performance work in partnership with composer Jonathan Bepler. Intimate and delicate, Barney’s drawings allude to each of the seven acts emphasizing in particular the themes of mythology, death, rebirth, and reincarnation. The works are based on Norman Mailer’s erotic and allegorical novel Ancient Evenings (1983) which re-envisages ancient Egyptian mythology and the seven passages of the soul after death: Ren, Khu, Sekhem, Ba, Ka, Khaibit, and Sekhu.
Djed: The Case for Saving Detroit (2010), by Matthew Barney, via Sadie Coles
More images, text and related links after the jump…
KA: The River of No Return (2010) by Matthew Barney, via Sadie Coles
Many of the works are mythical and ritualistic in nature incorporating various alchemical materials such as gold plate, copper leaf and lapis lazuli pigment. Barney has also used textual elements in these works as if signaling a way to bring about the story behind each. One for example, is a five-pointed polygon labeled “Five Points Make a Man,” a title which recalls the late performance artist James Lee Byars in his reference to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
KHU: Sunken Trunk (2010) by Matthew Barney, via Sadie Coles
Storyboards for the Ancient Evenings project are also installed throughout the exhibition in seven freestanding cabinets. They feature photography, clipart, drawing and collage. Such a display technique alludes to the conceptual idea of a performance; the works appear to move while narrating a tale throughout the exhibition. At the same time the work within each cabinet reveals its own motif apart from the other works hence only hinting at the possibility of an overarching interrelationship. Barney recombines and then isolates particular objects in order to emphasize their physicality, connectedness and differences.
KA: Galena Summit (2009) by Matthew Barney, via Sadie Coles
An exhibition which prompts meditate and contemplative thought, Barney’s new works link the past with the present.
Matthew Barney (b. 1967) studied art at Yale University. He has received several distinguished awards including the Aperto Prize at the 1993 Venice Biennale and the 1993 Hugo Boss award. His work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions in major international galleries and museums.