Five Heavy Cremaster Pieces by Matthew Barney

written by Željko Kipke


I saw an American film about Houdini directed by Pen Densham four years ago (1999). The writer-director paid attention to the illusionistic tricks and Harry Houdini’s battle against various media and spiritists. After having watched in Paris for six and half hours the cyclus titled “Cremaster cycle” by Matthew Barney in which this unusual artist showed great appreciation for the mentioned magician I went to see that old film again. I wanted to refresh my memory trying to find details I had missed the first time which would enable me to have a less painfull journey through the entangled system of  Five heavy cremaster pieces. The film was made in 1998, it does not give details about the magician’s life, but it cosistently repeats the same phrase: Do not ever trust the illusionist! Anyway, it is a common phrase known to all the viewers or participants in the dramatic performances.