© Matthew Barney / Photography: Eva Herzog

One of the most remarkable contemporary artists stateside has returned to France for the first time in over a decade. We’re talking Matthew Barney (1967) and his video installation, entitled SECONDARY, at Fondation Cartier in Paris. Alongside the installation, a series of new works which created especially for the occasion, are presented. Additionally, Fondation Cartier will also host a programme of unique events and performances. Filmed in Barney’s sculpture studio in New York City, where it premiered in Spring 2023, SECONDARY is a five-channel video installation set within the context of an American football field. For sixty minutes, eleven performers — mainly dancers and movement artists with older bodies, including Barney himself — abstract the action that takes place on the field.

The storyline revolves around the memory of an accident that occurred during a professional football game in 1978, when Jack Tatum, a defensive back for the Oakland Raiders, delivered an open field hit on Darryl Stingley, a wide receiver for the New England Patriots. Stingley was left paralysed. Rebroadcast over and over in sports media, this tragic event would remain seared in the minds of football fans and the young Barney, himself a youth league quarter- back at the time. This new work aims to demonstrate the complex superposition of real violence and its representation — as well as celebration — through sports entertainment. It also examines the game and affiliated culture through a unique movement vocabulary developed collaboratively with the cast of performers, including movement director David Thomson, and Barney. The result is a highly physical, bodily study that focuses on every element of the game: training drills, pre-game rituals, moments of impact, and slow-motion replays.

In addition, the exhibition will include some of the earliest DRAWING RESTRAINT video works which Barney began in 1987 while he was still in art school. The latter series initiated Barney’s explorations of the relationship between resistance and creativity, as well as bodily limits. Interestingly, the artist will create the newest video in the series, called DRAWING RESTRAINT 27, which he will film in the galleries of Fondation Cartier. The in situ performance will be realised by Raphael Xavier, in the role of football player Jack Tatum. It will be filmed and broadcast throughout the exhibition spaces. The SECONDARY exhibition takes place across the entire venue. In the gallery adjacent to the show is a new ceramic sculpture that takes the form of a power rack, equipment designed for weightlifting (on through Sep 8). © superfuture

Fondation Cartier
261 boulevard Raspail (Montparnasse)
75014 Paris
Telephone +33 1 42185650
Tue 11am-10pm
Wed-Sun 11am-8pm

© Matthew Barney / Photography: Eva Herzog + David Regen (settings) / Dario Lasagni (installation) / Julieta Cervantes (production stills) / Courtesy of the artist, Gladstone Gallery, Sadie Coles HQ, Regen Projects, and Galerie Max Hetzler