Matthew Barney (b. 1967)
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Matthew Barney (b. 1967)

Cremaster 4: Three Legs of Man

Matthew Barney (b. 1967)
Cremaster 4: Three Legs of Man
signed and dated 'Matthew Barney '94' (on the reverse)
colour coupler print in self-lubricating artist's frame
28 x 40in. (71.1 x 101.6cm.)
Executed in 1994, this work is the artist proof of an edition of six plus one artist proof
Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York.
N. Spector, Matthew Barney. The Cremaster Cycles, New York 2002 (another from the edition illustrated, pp. 392-393).
Special notice
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

Lot Essay

"The narrative constantly shifts from the microcosmic to the macrocosmic as the island itself is seen as an organism, a body of internal forces, psychological or biological, competing against each other. The bike teams racing around the island are crosscut with the movement of small organs. These white biological forms emerge from oozing slits or pouches in the biker's uniforms. Like the embryos of marsupials whose first journey is a climb from the place of birth to a pouch where they find warmth and safety, these organs attempt to migrate from their point of origin to another orifice in the bikers' leathers. The compulsive, instinctive journey of the organs across the body mirrors the movement of the bike unites around the body of the island (organs within the organism) and echoes the satyr's tortuous rite of passage through the interior tracts of the island body.

If the spinning Manx symbol describes the movement of the three competing elements in the body of the island, the configuration of the Loughton Sheep's horns supplies a second important diagram, a drawing which is at the origin of Barney's film. The vertical primary horns and the descending and curling secondary pair shift in scale to draw the line of movement of the two bike teams, the Ascending and Descending Hacks. They are repeated in the carefully arranged curls over the forehead of the Loughton Candidate. This symmetrical drawing describes the internal movement effected by the Cremaster muscles in the body of the male, which control the temperature of the testicles by retracting them into the body. Two sidecar teams (two people to make a team); the sheep and the satyr: two sets of migrating organs, two sets of horns. The recurrent symmetry of doubles and opposites is echoed in the narrative's many details - the shape of the faeries' coiffures, the balls in the pockets of the satyr, the testicle-shaped forms on which the bikes are stationed at the end of the movie"
(J. Lingwood, Matthew Barney Cremaster 4, London 1995, unpaged)

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