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THE CREMASTER CYCLE 1-5
Years: 1994 - 2002
UK: Palm Pictures and Arthouse Films
Director: Matthew Barney
UK Release Date: 17 October 2003
UK DVD Release Date: 3 November 2003
Almost a decade in the making, Matthew Barney's legendary CREMASTER CYCLE receives its official UK cinematic release through Palm Pictures and Arthouse Films. Following the sell-out screenings at this year's Edinburgh Film Festival, the series of five films will make a nationwide tour, starting in London on 17 October. Applauded by the New York Times as "the most important American artist of his generation", Matthew Barney has produced one of the most imaginative and visionary films in recent years. Using autobiographical material, landscape, biology, architecture, private fantasies, classical myths, film references from Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING to Busby Berkeley's extravaganzas of the 30's, elaborate costumes, prosthetic devices and transforming make-up, Barney has created dreamlike worlds which are strangely rich, ravishing and hypnotic. The films feature such notable personalities as Aimee Mullins, Ursula Andress, Norman Mailer, Dave Lombardo, Richard Serra alongside Matthew Barney himself.
To coincide with this event, Palm Pictures and Arthouse Films is releasing on 3 November 2003 in the UK, an exclusive DVD of THE ORDER, the last sequence of CREMASTER 3, which marks the grand finale to the five films. Set in the Guggenheim Museum, THE ORDER represents the entire five-part CREMASTER CYCLE, and presents Matthew Barney as the tartan-clad Entered Apprentice in a death-defying race to the top of Guggenheim. On the way, he takes on legendary sculptor Richard Serra, who tosses molten Vaseline down the ramps, a pair of battling heavy-metal bands, a troupe of tap-dancers, and the ravishing model Aimee Mullins who transforms in to a cheetah-woman. THE ORDER marks the first release ever of Barney's film work on DVD, outside of the original priceless laserdiscs on display in the Guggenheim. Special features on the DVD include: an interactive multiangle video presentation of THE ORDER which enables multiangle navigation and an interactive experience which is the first of its kind in the contemporary art world; the composer Jonathan Bepler's 5.1 audio mix, which is an exclusive reworking; and the director's commentary, offering a fascinating insight in to Matthew Barney's vision.
Barney began work on the CREMASTER CYCLE in 1994, and started out of sequence with CREMASTER 4. Set on the Isle of Man, Barney plays a character called the Loughton Candidate who slowly taps his way through an eroding floor in to the sea, as two competing motor-cycle teams race in opposite directions around the island. CREMASTER 1 followed in 1995, a Busby-Berkeley-style musical review staged in the sports stadium of Barney's home town of Boise in Idaho, with showgirls performing on the field and twin Goodyear blimps floating above. Next was CREMASTER 5 (1997) in which renowned actress Ursula Andress (Dr No) stars as the Queen of Chain, the sole spectator at a lavish opera performed at the Hungarian State Opera House. Hungarian-born Harry Houdini played by Norman Mailer, features in CREMASTER 2 (1999), a gothic Western which cuts between 1977, the year Gary Gilmore was executed, back to 1893 when Houdini, reputedly Gilmore's grandfather, performed at the World Columbian Exposition. The final piece of the five-part cycle, CREMASTER 3, is primarily set in New York City in the Chrysler Building and the Guggenheim Museum and is filled with beautiful, mystifying images, many of which hark back to themes Barney has already established.
Writer, director and producer of CREMASTER's 1,2,3,4,5, Matthew Barney was born in 1967. A talented footballer and graduate from Yale University, he switched from medicine to art early on in his studies. His New York debut in 1991 at the Barbara Gladstone gallery packed in crowds to watch a video of the artist, naked, scaling the gallery's walls and ceiling with the aid of a rock climber's harness and ice screws. The term, 'cremaster', refers to the muscle which raises or lowers the testicles and became the inspiration for Barney's CREMASTER CYCLE, providing a way for him to explore the period in foetal development prior to the reproductive system differentiating between male and female. Barney also made sculptures and related objects to the films, which were included in his highly celebrated recent show at the Guggenheim Museum presenting the CREMASTER CYCLE.