Paris Exhibition: SECONDARY - Matthew Barney at the Fondation Cartier

Paris Exhibition: SECONDARY - Matthew Barney at the Fondation Cartier

The Fondation Cartier pour l'Art contemporain unveils its new exhibition "SECONDARY" by Matthew Barney, which runs from 8 June to 8 September 2024

After the spectacular Ron Mueck exhibition at the end of 2023 and the Bijoy Jain / Studio Mumbai exhibition at the beginning of 2024, the Fondation Cartier presents Matthew Barney's first institutional exhibition in France for over 10 years.



Born in San Francisco, California, Matthew Barney is a polymorphous artist who expresses himself through film-making, performance, sculpture and drawing. Known for his feature films The Cremaster Cycle (1994-2002), River of Fundament (2014) and Redoubt (2019), as well as his video series DRAWING RESTRAINT (since 1987), his work is exhibited in major galleries around the world.



The exhibition is based around a video installation comprising five films shot in Matthew Barney's sculpture studio in Long Island City, New York, in the United States. 

Photo : Amandine goetz

A former university quarterback, Matthew Barney was marked in his youth by the tragedy that occurred during a professional football match on 12 August 1978: a violent collision between Oakland Raiders defender Jack Tatum and New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley, which left Stingley paralysed for life. It was a tragic incident that, at the time, was widely reported in the media and remained engraved in the memory of Matthew Barney, who drew inspiration from the event for his designs.

This new work shows the complex layering of real violence and its representation, as well as its celebration in the sports entertainment industry. It examines this game and the culture associated with it through a semantics of movement developed in collaboration with the performers, choreographer David Thomson and Barney himself.


Photo : Amandine goetz

The exhibition takes over all the spaces at the Fondation Cartier, presenting for the first time a terracotta sculpture representing a power rack. This work evokes the material choreography of SECONDARY, in which metal, ceramic and plastic are manipulated by the performers in real time. These materials suggest qualities of strength, elasticity, fragility and memory, and each, in its own way, embodies a character.


Photo : Amandine goetz

The exhibition also includes a selection of Matthew Barney's early video works entitled DRAWING RESTRAINT, which he began in 1987 while still at art school. Inspired by the principles of muscular resistance training, the artist imposed constraints on his body while drawing, and then exhibited the resulting drawings and videos, as well as the equipment used, as site-specific installations. This series launched Matthew Barney's exploration of the limits of the body and the relationship between constraint and creativity. It is the artist's earliest work, and laid the foundations for the creation of SECONDARY.


Matthew Barney SECONDARY
From 8 June to 8 September 2024

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Front page image: Amandine Goetz
Editorial staff: Amandine Goetz