The muscle man cometh, again

THERE'S NO delicate way of saying this: Matthew Barney has a bit of a genital fixation. His 1995 film, Cremaster 4 (the cremaster being, for those of you not familiar with the term, the small but crucial muscle controlling the contraction of the testicles), featured a naked faery with long strings running from clips on its scrotum to the back of an accelerating motorbike. The name of his installation, OTTOshaft, is said to be the graphic representation of the penis shaft (the two Ts) and the testicles (the two Os). Pop psychologists would of course have an answer to the 31-year-old, San Francisco-born artist's preoccupation, but Barney keeps us all guessing: despite treating his audience to graphic shots of medical speculums entering his every orifice, his athletic, football-player's frame is usually disguised in so much prosthetic make-up as to render his very gender indefinable, let alone reveal any finer details.

His films inhabit a surreal, opulent, mythological universe of satyrs, faeries, parliamentary sheep and roving body parts, and his latest, Cremaster 5, is no exception. Featuring erstwhile Bond girl Ursula Andress as the opera-singing, Jacobean-style Queen of Chain, the film takes place in Budapest - in the proscenium arch of the city's Opera House and at the bottom of the Danube, where water nymphs are attaching pigeons to the crotch of the Giant (played by Barney himself, above, swathed in layers of latex). And that's not something you see every day. ('Cremaster 5': Metro, W1, 0171 734 1506, Fri to 26 Mar. Matthew Barney will also be giving a talk on Sat).

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