Sunday, September 17, 2006

A brief review of Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint 9:

It was bizarre. And long. Nevertheless, the film and music were beautiful. Very heavy with symbolism, about which I'm not too sure how I feel yet. Some metaphors were completely obscure, others were a little more decipherable, and there were definite motifs throughout the film (and exhibit) that helped to anchor the flow of events. The ultimate motif of the piece, as well as all of Barney's previous work, is the image of the "field," which is an oval bisected by a bar. It is manifested in several forms, from a seal on a gift-wrapped package, to a large vat of petroleum jelly on the deck of a Japanese whaling ship. In each case, the bar is deliberately removed from the oval by human hands, which in part (or in whole) represents a creature's struggle and ultimate triumph in removing the restraint (bar) from the body (oval). This was probably the most well-executed metaphor throughout the film.

One huge aesthetic downfall for the film was the occasional, though blatant use of CG. It was very distracting for me, but then again, I tend to be very critical of distinct CG-live action mixtures. Would I recommend watching this, if you ever happen to be near the next exhibit (its San Francisco visit ends today)? Yes.