San Francisco Film Festival: Drawing Restraint 17 by Matthew Barney

Barney at his most restrained and linear. A compact, silent, heart-breaking, and beautifully composed short film, it had all the echoes of previous works: the textures of substances (glues, soil, plastic, wood, mud), the presence of place (here, the fantastic Goethenaum and the Schaulager Basel), and the primacy of the body. But for me, this had the most heart (of all organs, this is the last one I would associate with his work), even when it concerned death. The Maiden, the heart of the work, stood for warmth, life, romance, longing, a certain vitality. When art, as embodied by an austere and masculine work of architecture, fails her, we fall along with her, too. While not a film in the narrative sense, his and his art team’s command of visual language and composition forces the viewer to re-imagine other uses of film.

Silent. Drawing Restraint 14 is at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Drawing Restraint 17