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Drawing Restraint 9, film by Matthew Barney & Bjork

Visually provacative and conceptually determined, Drawing Restraint is an entire series that delves into the development of form through the struggle of self-imposed resistance. His multimedia work holds within it some deep thinking that might be accessible only after prolonged exposure to such ideas, but the visual elements are immediately captivating. Just the images alone have intrigued me.


Drawing Restraint 9 is the first collaboration of Barney and Bjork, whom, in many respects, parallel each other in their dedication to refined expression in music and contemporary art.  The film, released in NY to high acclaim, is set on a whaling ship and explores the surrender of form once its barriers are released, in this case represented by an on-board sculpture that liquifies dring a storm and engulfs the bodies of The Guests, played by Barney and Bjork, during a tea ceremony of the Shinto custom.  After cutting each other away and revealing the nascent development of whale fins, the exit from the storm signals the eventual rebirth of The Guests, implying evolution from chaos.  Really complex stuff. 

Furthermore, while the film is notable for its story and visuals, Bjork's soundtrack, a formal exploration of traditional 18th century Japanese court music based almost entirely on the Imperial reeded instrument sho, and also the inventive use of her own voice as instrument, aptly accentuates the themes of organization, creativity, and resistance of this piece, considered Barney's magnum opus.  

Now its summer, and the whole installation/film/photo/sculpture/performance-based series returns to where it started at SFMoMA, taking up the entire 4th floor and culminating in screenings of the film.  

DRAWING RESTRAINT 9 by Matthew Barney, 2005

145 min.June 23 – September 17, 2006

Daily (except Wednesdays): 2:00 p.m.

Beginning July 13, 2006: also on Thursdays at 6:15 p.m.

"It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it."

 While walking the booths at the recent CapsuleSF, I managed to come across a dope new indie screen-based shirt maker, New Leaf Clothing, spearheaded by Deny and Erik.  Specifically, I copped their Give Back long sleeve, which had offset on the left rib the subtle, but very sincere and weighty quotation above.  With that message alone, the accompanying screened text (which was gloopy, thus the sale price, I'm not complaining), the recycled paper tag "Plant this seed", and the minor "Enjoy Life." hem-tag motto, I got a strong sense of what these cats were about right away, and I vibed immediately.  Subtle details, earthiness, clean design, and layered screening effect an artistic presentation overall, characterized by inventive and dynamic images and texture with a clear and defined message rooted in our innate wish to dream and be centered with the world around us. 

 It might be naive to say but I felt the shirt was made for people like me because they think like I do.  After checking the site and their seductive product copy, its no surprise that their handprinted pieces, limited to runs of 150, sell out.  The medium is the message, and they communicate with confidence, compassion, and an innocently pure, yet mature and unabashed romanticism that seems truly SF born and bred.  They are original, but more importantly, True.  Plus, a beautiful site showcases their work proper. 

>> "Home" series

 >> New Leaf Clothing 


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