Nomadic Night

Matthew Barney, "The Cremaster Cycle"

Exceptional screening / Offsite

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Location: Christine Cinéma Club, view access map
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About the event

Marathon screening of Matthew Barney’s flagship work, in partnership with the Christine Cinéma Club.

As part of the Matthew Barney SECONDARY exhibition, on show from June 8 to September 8, 2024, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is joining forces with the Christine Cinéma Club, a legendary independent arthouse cinema, located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, for an exceptional retrospective of The Cremaster Cycle.

An ensemble of films directed and co-produced by Matthew Barney over an eight-year period, the epic Cremaster Cycle (1994-2002) is an autonomous aesthetic system, comprising five feature films that explore the creative process. A veritable “total artwork”, the cycle unfolds not only on a cinematic level, but also through the photographs, drawings, sculptures, and installations produced by the artist in conjunction with each film.

The title of the cycle and conceptual starting point refers to the male cremaster muscle, which controls the contractions of the testicles in response to external stimuli like temperature and fear. For the artist, the role of this muscle—the only one that cannot be developed or trained by athletes—is central. It reflects the position of the individual, constantly oscillating between rise and fall. The cremaster muscle also serves to determine the sexual differentiation of the embryo, and Barney uses it to explore those moments of sexual predetermination, representative of an unlimited potentiality. As the cycle evolved, Barney began looking beyond biology for a way to explore the creation of form, employing narrative models coming from other fields, such as biography, mythology, and geology.

Through surreal and somewhat outlandish images, this body of work projects viewers into a fantastic, unique universe, at once inaccessible and seductive. The films themselves are a rich blend of history, autobiography, and mythology—an intensely codified universe where symbols and images are densely layered and interconnected. The Cremaster Cycle unfolds a hybrid and marvelous fable, constructed like a self-portrait, and which speaks directly to the human creative impulse. It remains a singular work, unforgettable for its aesthetic and its strangeness but one that appeals to film buffs and contemporary art lovers alike.


Saturday, June 29 (2pm – 11pm)

2pm – 3.30pm: Cremaster 4 (45 mins) + Cremaster 1 (45 mins)
4pm – 6.15pm: Cremaster 5 (55 mins) + Cremaster 2 (80 mins)
7.30pm – 10.50pm: Cremaster 3 (3 hrs 20 mins)

Sunday, June 30 (11am – 8pm)

11am – 12.30pm: Cremaster 4 (45 mins) + Cremaster 1 (45 mins)
1.30pm – 3.45pm: Cremaster 5 (55 mins) + Cremaster 2 (80 mins)
4.30pm – 7.50pm: Cremaster 3 (3 hrs 20 mins)

A vegetarian snack will be offered to the public during the screening of The Cremaster Cycle on both days.


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.

Matthew Barney has presented large-scale projects in solo exhibitions at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (1995); Guggenheim, New York (2002); 21st Century Museum for Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2005); Schaulager, Basel, Switzerland (2010 and 2021); the Morgan Library and Museum, New York (2013); Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2014) and Yale University Art Gallery (2019).

He received the Aperto Prize at the Venice Biennale (1993); the Hugo Boss Prize (1996); the Kaiser Ring Award in Goslar, Germany (2007); the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award at the 54th San Francisco Film Festival (2011) and was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2024).

Practical information

Additional information

A ticket corresponds to a nominative full pass giving access to the entire program of the selected day.
Screenings at the Christine Cinéma Club (4 rue Christine, 75006 Paris).
Seated event, subject to availability.
The films begin at the time indicated: latecomers will only be allowed entry if this does not disturb the screening.