photo: SAIKI Taku

Drawing Restraint 8:Natal Cleft

ArtistMatthew BARNEY
Material/ Techniquegraphite, watercolor and petroleum jelly on paper in rotomolded polycarbonate frames, with nylon fiber, acrylic and vivac
Size/ DurationH91.4×W162.5×D104.1cm
Copyright Notice© Matthew BARNEY
Year of acquisition/ donation2003
DescriptionBorn in San Francisco, USA in 1967. Lives and works in New York.

Matthew Barney has a wide range of experience, having studied medicine at university before majoring in art and physical education and also having worked as a fashion model. Since the 1980s he has worked mainly in sculpture and film. His films often feature himself and his own sculptures. He skillfully uses materials such as silicon and plastic, focusing on biological aspects of the human body while conjuring up a sublime artistic realm through the incorporation of repetitive mythical designs.

This work is a part of the major ongoing series “Drawing Restraint.” As indicated by the title, which refers to the application of restraint or restriction to the body while drawing, this series deals with universal themes such as the human body and the world that surrounds it, as well as with activity and energy inside the body. Inside a transparent acrylic case in the form of a table are a number of polycarbonate frames containing petroleum jelly, graphite and drawings, representing the split that occurs during the initial cell division after fertilization, or in other words the ‘natal cleft.’ The result is a profound work in which Barney’s unique sculptural language gives impetus to the magnificent world that unfolds from the tiny clefts.