Thursday, February 19, 2009

Matthew Barney Exhibition in Brussels Opening March 19

The Brussels branch of Gladstone Gallery (Rue du Grand Cerf 12 Grote Hertstraat - 1000 Brussels) is hosting an exhibition of new drawings by Matthew Barney called Ancient Evenings: Libretto from March 20 - May 9. There will be an opening reception from 6-9 on March 19.

From the press release:

"Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new drawings by Matthew Barney from Ancient Evenings, a seven act opera loosely based on Norman Mailer's 1983 Egyptian-set novel and currently in development by Barney and composer Jonathan Bepler.

Each act of the opera chronicles one of the seven stages that the soul passes through after the death of the body. Remaining true to the original theme of rebirth and reincarnation, Ancient Evenings recasts the central myth of Isis and Osiris in a contemporary industrial landscape. Barney has replaced the human body with the body of the 1967 Chrysler Imperial that was the central motif from his earlier film Cremaster 3. This exhibition will include drawings that explore the character and thematic development of the first two acts, entitled "Ren" and "Sekhem." Obsessively drawn, Barney's graphite drawings map the conceptual depths of each project rather than presenting storyboard-like narratives. Barney evokes his beautifully rendered imagery with the addition of non-traditional materials such as petroleum jelly and metal leaf, in addition to lapis dust and PCL, a plastic derived from crude oil. Alongside these drawings, Barney has taken seven copies of Mailer's novel to create unique sculptures inside wall-mounted vitrines. Each piece contains one copy resting upon a bed of carved salt and opened to a spread that bears a drawing pertaining to one of the seven stages of the soul. In co-mingling Barney's draftsmanship with passages that comprise the opera's libretto, each book represents a different aspect of Barney's new interpretation of Mailer's novel."

Interestingly, the press release also notes that Acts 2-4 of Ancient Evenings (Act 1 is Ren, performed in Los Angeles last May) are currently in production for summer 2009.

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