Cremaster on Tour

These are a few of the film scenes from “The Cremaster Cycle,” a grand multimedia undertaking by Matthew Barney. The retrospective of Barney’s cycle has been organized by A KuKu Sztuka association to be shown Oct. 29-30 in the Kino Pod Baranami theater.

“We wanted to organize this retrospective for a long time,” said Luna Dela of the A KuKu Sztuka association, “but at first only in Gdansk. Then we decided that there is a need to show ?The Cremaster Cycle’ in other cities in Poland, since it was screened before only in Warsaw and Wroclaw a few years ago.”

“The Cremaster Cycle” is a sequence of five films which Barney has made since 1995. This is both a film and a piece of art, the life’s work of one of the most avant-garde and enigmatic modern American artists.

“The beauty of the art lies in how slow it is seen,” Barney said. “But we can’t describe the cinema in this way. The visual artist can be mysterious. I am sure that in the future my stories will be understood by everyone.”

Matthew Barney is a director, a producer and a screenwriter. He is famed as a creator of a specific trend in the arts of the 90s called extreme body art.

His works are auto-thematic, very spectacular, based on medicine, mythology, architecture and sociology. He mixes popular pop art with very exclusive art. There are different genres ? horror, western, comedy and drama ? in “The Cremaster Cycle.”

There are different styles ? Gothic, baroque, surrealistic.
In the opinion of Anna Markowska, a Polish researcher of Barney’s works, “The Cremaster Cycle” discusses the problem of the male identity, masculinity in the 21st Century.

“The ?Cycle’ is an autonomic whole, and it is a very precisely detailed parallel world like ?The Lord of the Rings? by J.R.R. Tolkien or ?Star Wars? by George Lucas,” she said. “Cremaster” is a name taken from medicine ? the cremaster muscle ? and it is to show “the rule of hypertrophy,” or cell growth.

“As a muscular tissue which expands under a resistance, the artistic form also needs a dose of resistance to be a success,” Barney said.

The production of “The Cremaster Cycle” was very expensive, even though it was an experimental project. Screenings of the “Cycle” are very rare and only in prestigious venues connected with modern art chosen by the artist.

“We were lucky because there were different problems with the safety of the copy in the past and that’s why it couldn’t be shown before,” Lena Dula said. “But these copies we have from Sweden and Barney agreed on showing it in Poland.”

“The Cremaster Cycle” will be shown during the Transvizualia 007 festival in Gdansk on Oct. 24-25 and then it will go to Krakow, Poznan and Lodz.

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