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Matthew Barney «Cremaster 1» | Cremaster-Cycle
Matthew Barney, «Cremaster 1», 1995
Cremaster-Cycle | Filmstill | © Matthew Barney

United States

 Matthew Barney
«Cremaster 1»

«CREMASTER 1» (1995) is a candy-coated musical revue performed on the blue Astroturf playing field of Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho-Matthew Barney's hometown. Two Goodyear Blimps float above the arena like the airships that often record and transmit live sporting events via television broadcast. Four air hostesses, uniformed in trimly fitted 1930s outfits, silently tend to each blimp. The only sound is soft ambient music, which suggests the hum of the engines. In the middle of each cabin interior sits a white-clothed table, its top decorated with an abstract Art Deco centerpiece sculpted from Vaseline and surrounded by clusters of grapes. In one blimp the grapes are green, in the other they are purple. Under both of these otherwise identical tables resides Goodyear (played by Marti Domination), a platinum-blonde Hollywood starlet. Inhabiting both blimps simultaneously, this doubled creature sets the narrative in motion. After prying an opening in the tablecloth(s) above her head, she plucks grapes from their stems and them down into her white cell. With these grapes, Goodyear produces diagrams that direct the choreographic patterns created by a troupe of dancing girls on the field below. The camera switches back and forth between Goodyear's drawings and aerial views of the chorus girls moving into formation: their designs shift from parallel lines to the figure of a barbell, large circle to an outline of splitting and multiplying cells, and from a horizontally divided field emblem (Barney's signature motif) to a rendering of an undifferentiated reproductive system (which marks the first six weeks of fetal development). Gliding in time to the musical score, the chorus girls the contours of a still-androgynous gonadal structure, which echoes the shapes of the two blimps overhead, symbolizes a state of pure potential.

(source: Matthew Barney, The Cremaster Cycle, Hatje Cantz: Ostfildern-Ruit, 2002 )