Drawing Restraint 9

Drawing Restraint

We were discussing that fine border between film and visual art the other day - does La Jetée count as film? What about Warhol's Empire? (yes, no... and yes, it's a sort of arbitrary line, and yes, I know a work can be both art and film, but you know, taxonomy can be a stern taskmaster.)

Which brings me to the point - Matthew Barney's new work (ah, careful sidestepping of the nomenclature there) Drawing Restraint 9 is out. Apparently, it's set on the Nisshin Maru, a whaling vessel (boo!) and it involves the transformation of two guests aboard the ship (Barney and Björk) into whales swimming to Antarctica. Um, yeah. Trying to explain what a Barney film is "about" always sounds a bit silly. Anyway, the trailer, clearly, shows Barney's lush aestheticism, which invariably made me think of his Cremaster cycle. And I suppose the fact that Barney creates huge sculptures for the work (using Vaseline, no less, among other materials) does make one think more of it as art rather than film, if we have to make a divide.

The New York Times has an article on Barney and Björk's collaboration for Drawing Restraint 9, including this amusing description by Barney about using his lover as his co-star:
In other words, while some romantically involved actors might see the dramatic possibilities of performing together from a Taylor-and-Burton perspective, Mr. Barney saw it decidedly from Duchamp's.

"It almost belongs to the plastic art tradition of the found object," he said, "the readymade."
Ah, referring to your partner as a "found object". Always romantic.


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