Sunday, 18 March 2007

Drawing Restraint 9

Last year I drove from Osaka to Kanazawa for three hours to see a film by an artist called Matthew Barney. The film was "Drawing Restraint 9". It came highly recommended.

Three hours later I drove home.

The six hours I spent driving my small car on big roads with big cars were far more pleasant, relaxing and spiritually rich than the two through which I endured "Drawing Restraint #9". Dodging trucks and trying to stay awake on the way home was interesting. I got to talk to an old friend who came along for the ride but was spared the DR9 ordeal. That more than made up for the trucks.

Drawing Restraint 9 was:

Two hours of Mr. Barney and his wife Bjork doing serious, deep, and spiritual things. Apparently, when you are doing serious, deep, and spiritual things your facial muscles are paralysed. I didn't know that before.

They get picked up by a whaling ship. The ship fishes what looks like a big piece of wax from the ocean. Mr. Barney gets his beard shaved off. Bjork soaks in a bath filled with yuzu. They get married in a parody of a Shinto ritual, turn into whales, and chop each other up.

That paragraph makes the film sound quite interesting. It only took five seconds to read though. The movie goes for more than two hours.

I have friends who loved this movie, who raved about it. These same people recommended we go and see an exhibition by another artist I hadn't heard of, Bill Viola.

I had grave, grave doubts.

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