Image from 'CREMASTER' by Matthew Barney
'Cremaster’s mostly wordless universe includes, among other things, the Isle of Man, Barney as a red-haired tap-dancing satyr, Ursula Andress in Budapest, a giant Barney with pigeon-tied testicles, Norman Mailer playing Harry Houdini (and Barney as The Executioner’s Song subject Gary Gilmore), a zombie horse race, a Bronco Stadium chorus line decked with helium-filled Goodyear blimps, gangsters, a multi-colored ram, vaudeville passages, growling death-metal icon Steve Tucker of Morbid Angel, the Masons, motorcycle sidecar races, a swarm of bees, bucking broncos in a choreographed death dance, fairies, and the Rocky Mountains.
“There was a conscious attempt to balance autobiographical material against the mythological, and the more intuitive, abstract material,” Barney told me when we first spoke. “It’s not so much about creating a portrait of an individual, but rather a complex, or a system that describes an individual form. Something like building an elaborate mirror over a ten-year period, then arriving at the mirror and being surprised to see your own reflection.”'
Katie Eilidh MacDonald Paul has not chosen a license for this content.