In conversation: Matthew Barney, Jonathan Bepler, and Hans Ulrich Obrist
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In 2007, artist Matthew Barney and composer Jonathan Bepler began collaborating on "River of Fundament" – a Gesamtkunstwerk consisting of several interwoven parts created in parallel: An epic-length symphonic film, three performances, fourteen large-scale sculptures, drawings, and storyboards. The film was conceived as a contemporary opera and combines documentary footage from the live performances "Ren", "Khu", and "Ba" with movie scenes. Jonathan Bepler’s score for "River of Fundament" exists as an autonomous element and, as in the Cremaster Cycle, serves as a vehicle for transcendent states.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator and co-director of the Serpentine Gallery in London, is deeply familiar with Matthew Barney's work. For more than a decade, he has spoken repeatedly with Barney in numerous interviews and inquired about the artist's current and future projects. Based on these discussions, Issue 27 of Obrist's "Conversation Series" was published in 2013; the publication includes detailed discussions about the basic ideas behind the "River of Fundament" project as well as about the complex intertwining of Egyptian mythology, the original literary work "Ancient Evenings" by Norman Mailer and Barney's visual and reference cosmos. Conversation in English