Nomadic Night

Discussion with Matthew Barney and David Thomson, followed by "A plump single-color bulb, or a dance" by Wally Cardona with Jonathan Bepler

Discussion + Dance & Experimental music – In-situ creation

Location: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, view access map
Prices and conditions

About the event

A shared Nomadic Night:

Matthew Barney and David Thomson

With: Matthew Barney (artist) and David Thomson (movement director of SECONDARY).

Introduction: Juliette Lecorne, curator of the SECONDARY exhibition at the Fondation Cartier.

The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presents Matthew Barney’s first institutional exhibition in France for over 10 years. Visitors will discover the American artist’s latest video installation, SECONDARY, alongside new works created especially for the occasion.

As part of the opening of this exceptional exhibition, the Fondation Cartier brings together Matthew Barney, one of the most important figures in contemporary art, and David Thomson, choreographer, dancer and performer who directs the movement of the SECONDARY video installation. The plot of SECONDARY revolves around the memory of an accident that occurred during a professional football game on August 12, 1978, during which Jack Tatum, a defensive back for the Oakland Raiders, collided head-on with Darryl Stingley, wide receiver for the New England Patriots. The latter remained paralyzed for life.

The two artists meet to discuss, in public, their collaboration in the context of the creation of SECONDARY as well as the resonances of this work on their personal stories.


A plump single-color bulb, or a dance by Wally Cardona with Jonathan Bepler
Dance & Experimental music – In-situ creation

Dance: Wally Cardona.
Music: Jonathan Bepler.

An in-situ creation for the Nomadic Nights of the Fondation Cartier, as part of the exhibition SECONDARY by Matthew Barney.

As part of Matthew Barney’s exhibition-event SECONDARY presented at the Fondation Cartier from June 8 to September 8, 2024, the Nomadic Nights invite 4 performers from his latest video installation SECONDARY to each present in-situ creations. For this first evening, choreographer, dancer and performer Wally Cardona teams with Jonathan Bepler, the composer and sound-designer for SECONDARY. The piece is a study in perpetual curiosity and the rare achievement of resolution.

A plump single-color bulb, appearing in the morning, fully formed by early evening. It is multi-tiered, efficiently breaking open into a complex construction, hard and soft. In the center, the long style, tipped by a dotted stigma, plunges into the weight of gravity. The single style, surrounded by too-delicate-looking versions of itself; multiple filaments with an anther at each tip. The delicate filaments, poking out from the corolla, its many petals - usually most-noticed - now playing a supporting role. The corolla cluster, protected by the sepal, formerly closed, now separating into panels arcing up, then down. Like a pagoda. Or a dance.

This text is born from a memory of mine when I was 9 years old. There are not many memories from that period. My mother had just died, my father had vanished, my sister (actually my half-sister) had been taken away to live with her birth father and I was being moved from place to place, living with strangers in strange places.

But in one place there was a vivid memory. On the front porch of wherever I had been put, fuchsia flowers reigned supreme, bursting forth in hanging pots overhead and all around, perpetually budding, opening and dropping with a gentle plop to the ground. In a time of total darkness, this was a place that kept my curiosity and fascination alive. It’s one of my only memories from this period.

So what about this remarkable mechanism, curiosity? How does it stay alive - and keep one living - when all seems dead and lost? How does one organize, get lost in and re-find themselves in this space of curiosity? In times that have no sense or logic, how is it that the need for resolution can fade and simply finding relevance, moment to moment, is enough?”

– Wally Cardona


Born in San Francisco, California and raised in Boise, Idaho, Matthew Barney lives and works in New York. A multifaceted artist, his practice incorporates film, performance, sculpture and drawing. He is known for his feature works The Cremaster Cycle (1994-2002), River of Fundament (2014), and Redoubt (2019), as well as his video series DRAWING RESTRAINT (1987-ongoing). As a sculptor, Barney works with materials ranging from petroleum jelly, bronze, contemporary polymers, and now with SECONDARY, ceramic, to create objects and installations intrinsically linked to his cinematic universe.

David Thomson is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice centers on the interrogation of presence and absence in the performance of identity. He has worked with Trisha Brown (1987-93), Ralph Lemon, Marina Abramović, Alain Buffard, Yvonne Rainer, Meg Stuart, Maria Hassabi, and Matthew Barney, among many others. Thomson was honored with a New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) for Sustained Achievement (2001), and for Outstanding Production for his first evening-length work, he his own mythical beast (2018).

After many years of creating works that demanded highly controlled conditions in order to be made, choreographer Wally Cardona’s current process is one of softly undoing, initiating intimate collaborations where ways of doing can mutate in proximity to others. Choreographic works range from The Set Up: Island Ghost Sleep Princess Time Story Show, a 7-part dance made over the course of six years with dance artists from France, Bali, Java, Cambodia, Myanmar, Okinawa and India; to Interventions 1-7, made from encounters between Cardona and the requests and opinions of a sommelier, astrophysicist, architect, social activist, among others; to A Light Conversation, an intimate physical dialogue on aesthetics vs. ethics, love, commitment and sacrifice, made with choreographer Rahel Vonmoos.

Jonathan Bepler is a composer who collaborates often with artists, choreographers and filmmakers, and enjoys working across disciplines, as well as making improvised and pre-composed music. His work in France has included pieces with Jennifer Lacey, Nadia Lauro, DD Dorvillier, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Collaborations with Wally Cardona include several shows in NYC and research residencies in Southeast Asia. His collaborations with artist Matthew Barney have included many films and performances, from The Cremaster Cycle in 1994 to the recent installation SECONDARY in 2023.

Practical information

Additional information

Estimated duration: 2h (discussion: 1h + A plump single-color bulb, or a dance: 45 min).
Doors open at 6:30pm.
Seated event, subject to availability.
Nomadic Nights begin at the time indicated: latecomers will only be allowed entry if this does not disturb the show.
The exhibition SECONDARY by Matthew Barney will not be accessible during the Nomadic Night.
This event will be filmed by the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain teams for distribution on our digital communication platforms and those of third parties authorized by us. The audience may appear in the produced content. If a person appears in the produced content and wishes to be removed, please contact the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain at