Matthew Barney: Drawing Restraint 2, 6, 17
TORONTO • Art Gallery of Ontario • Ongoing
|Drawing Restraint (1987-present) is a long-term project for American artist Matthey Barney (born 1967, San Francisco) in which he proposes art-making as parallel to athletic training: the development of form occurs through resistance. Begun while still a student at Yale University, Drawing Restraint shows the influence of Barney’s background as an athlete and his intent to foreground the physical body and its tensions in a studio practice. The ongoing series Drawing Restraint comprises drawings, sculpture, photographs and video works emerging from his self-imposed and increasingly complex obstacles and scenarios.|
The earliest work in the series, Drawing Restraint 1-6 (1987-1989), shows simple studio experiments, where Barney attempts to mark the ceiling and the walls while bouncing on a tilted trampoline or tethered at the thighs with bungee cords. From the 1990s onwards, he began to introduce the spectacular cinematic narratives for which he is best known. Drawing Restraint 17 (2010), filmed in Switzerland, is a two-channel video bearing Barney’s signature high production value and allegorical storytelling. Usually, in this series, Barney subjects his own body to physical tests; here for the first time, the protagonist is an athletic young Swiss woman, while Barney now plays the removed role of the established artist.
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