Matthew Barney, SECONDARY, 2023
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Exhibition overview

From June 8 to September 8, 2024, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presents an exhibition by Matthew Barney, showing his latest video installation: SECONDARY. With this exhibition, the Fondation Cartier celebrates its collaboration with the American artist which began thirty years ago with the co-production of Barney’s first film, Cremaster 4 (1994), in what would become the artist’s iconic body of work, The CREMASTER Cycle.

The exhibition in detail

Filmed in Matthew Barney’s sculpture studio in Long Island City, New York, US, where it was shown for the first time in spring 2023, SECONDARY is a five-channel video installation set within the context of an American football field. For sixty minutes, eleven performers — mainly dancers and movement artists with older bodies, including the artist — abstract the action that takes place on the field.

The plot of SECONDARY revolves around the memory of an accident that occurred during a professional football game on August 12, 1978, where Jack Tatum, a defensive back for the Oakland Raiders, delivered an open field hit on Darryl Stingley, a wide receiver for the New England Patriots. Stingley was left paralyzed. Rebroadcast over and over in the sports media, this tragic event would remain seared in the minds of American fans and the young Barney, himself a youth league quarterback at the time.

This new work demonstrates the complex superposition of real violence and its representation, as well as celebration, through sport and contemporary American society. It examines the game and affiliated culture through a unique movement vocabulary developed collaboratively with the cast of performers, movement director David Thomson, and Barney. The result is a highly physical, bodily study that focuses on every element of the game, from drills to pre-game rituals to moments of impact and their famous slow-motion replays.

The SECONDARY exhibition will take place throughout all of the Fondation Cartier’s galleries, and will show for the first time a new sculpture created for the occasion. In addition, the exhibition will include an installation of the earliest Drawing Restraint video works, providing further context for the new work.The exhibition at the Fondation Cartier is part of a tour of unique SECONDARY shows scheduled for 2024 at the artist’s representing galleries.

Born in San Francisco, California and raised in Boise, Idaho, Matthew Barney today lives and works in New York. A multifaceted artist, his practice incorporates film, performance, sculpture, photography, and drawing. He is famous 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 for the first time terracotta, 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); and the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award at the 54th San Francisco Film Festival (2011).