Matthew Barney

De Lama Lamina


Embossed print and pencil on paper

19 × 25 cm

Edition of 100 copies, signed and numbered by the artist

Out of stock

about this work

Mattheyw Barney produced this edition based on his 2004 film project De Lama Lamina (From Mud, A Blade). This was one of his first films after completing the Cremaster Cycle and was carried out as a live performance piece at Carnival in Salvador de Bahia in collaboration with the musician Arto Lindsay. The performance draws inspiration from deities of the local Candomble region. The two gods are Ogun, the deity of war, who possesses iron tools which he uses for both building/cultivating and also harvesting/killing, and Ossaim, the god of the forests and healing. In this respect these two gods can be seen to represent to opposing sides. Central to the carnival procession is a behemoth forestry truck which holds a giant redwood in its claws, as if just torn from the ground, representing the modern day destruction of the rainforest. From this tree, hang Ogun’s seven iron tools, and climbing in the branches a woman who represents the eco-activist Julia Butterfly Hill. Whilst the truck makes its way along the carnival path, a man (called Greenman, perhaps representing Ossaim) is harnessed to the undercarriage. This figure interacts with the truck and performs sexual acts whilst plants growing from his orifices grow and bloom. Taken together, these motifs represent a hybrid of the two gods and make a political statement on how the forests are treated by man.

Each edition shows the redwood motive embossed on a sheet of paper, on which the artist wrote “de Lama Lamina” by hand in pencil and drew a border line separating the roots and branches from the tree.

about Matthew Barney

Matthew makes work that fuses sculptural installations with performance art and video. His singular vision foregrounds the physical rigors of sport and its erotic undercurrents to explore the limits of the body and sexuality. In this way, the artist’s work reflects his own past as an athlete, while also being attuned to a new politics of the body evident in the work of many contemporary artists. Barney’s ritualistic actions unfold in hybridized spaces that at once evoke a training camp and medical-research laboratory, equipped as they are with wrestling mats and blocking sleds, sternal retractors and speculums, and a range of props often cast in, or coated with, viscous substances such as wax, tapioca, and petroleum jelly.

Barney’s exploration of the body draws upon an athletic model of development, in which growth occurs only through restraint: the muscle encounters resistance, becomes engorged and is broken down, and in healing becomes stronger. This triangulated relationship between desire, discipline, and productivity provides the basis for Barney’s meditation on sexual difference. These athletic and sexual references converge in Otto’s jersey number “00,” which becomes a leitmotif for the artist’s ongoing exploration of a polymorphous sexuality. Woven cipherlike throughout Barney’s work, this motif intermittently appears as if marking elapsed time in his videos, and in altered form as a single oblong shape, resembling a football field. Barney notes, however, the oblong represents “the orifice and its closure—or the body and its self-imposed restraint.” Homonymic with the word “auto,” Otto also suggests autoeroticism, or a closed, self-sufficient system.


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