DJEDSculpture | Matthew Barney By Avram Finkelstein
Matthew Barney Gets Personal.
That Matthew Barney's work is overdetermined is a hollow observation at this stage of his career. That is precisely the point of it. Which is why his recent show at Barbara Gladstone in New York is noteworthy. While not exactly a one-eighty from his roving, mythopoeic Cremaster Cycle, these works are far more cartographic than interior, and although they are equally considered, they are also extremely momentary. Like all things cast, Barney's iron and graphite DJED is a document of an instant, in this case the 2010 Detroit performance of his operatic meditation on our cultural soul, KHU, based on Norman Mailer's 1983 novel, Ancient Evenings. DJED sprawls like a molten island chain, quietly cannibalizing the gallery floor, weighted, but fragile in its filigree. The other sculptural offerings feel more fallen than placed, and their intonations of humanity and accidentalism are departures from Barney's customary slickness. Still, the real stars of this show are the drawings, dark, obsessive-compulsive gems that look like pages of a dream journal. Unlike Barney's previous Cremaster tome on sexual differentiation that poses as personal, this suite of works actually is.