Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)

Matthew Barney, Rouge Battery, 2014. Cast copper and iron, 28 x 90 x 179 inches.

November 21, 2014

November 22–April 13, 2015

Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
655 Main Road
Berriedale, Hobart
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 10am–6pm
Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

November 21, 5pm, the filmRIVER OF FUNDAMENT—Federation Concert Hall, Hobart.
November 22, 1pm, A Conversation: Matthew Barney and David Walsh, Hobart’s Odeon Theatre.
November 22, 8pm, public opening of Matthew Barney: RIVER OF FUNDAMENT at MONA.
November 23 the exhibition opens during regular museum hours.

Matthew Barney: RIVER OF FUNDAMENT has its only Australian showing at Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart, Tasmania, on November 22.

Barney’s RIVER OF FUNDAMENT takes two forms: the symphonic opera Barney created with Jonathan Bepler, the artist’s musical collaborator since 1996; and narrative sculpture, storyboards, drawings related to film project from its inception in 2007, and selected works from David Walsh’s Egyptian antiquities collection, creating an immersive experience in the museum’s subterranean galleries.

Inspiration for RIVER OF FUNDAMENT was Norman Mailer’s novel Ancient Evenings (1983), which tells the story of an Egyptian mythic journey from death to rebirth. The novel draws from the Egyptian “Book of the Dead” and is a sexually graphic, ferocious telling of the recurring rebirth of an Egyptian nobleman named Menenhetet.

In 2007, not long before his death, Mailer asked Barney to read the novel’s first 100 pages and RIVER OF FUNDAMENT became the culmination of their two desires: Mailer’s to immortalize the novel he loved, and Barney’s to portray in sculpture and ritual pageantry the post-industrial myths and mayhem of their country.

At MONA, Matthew Barney: RIVER OF FUNDAMENT is curated by the artist with David Walsh, Nicole Durling and Olivier Varenne. This exhibition premiered at Haus der Kunst, Munich, and was curated by Okwui Enwezor in collaboration with MONA.

A selection of sculptures forged during and after filmed public performances in Los Angeles, Detroit and New York City form the focus of the MONA exhibition including Canopic Chest cast from the remains of the front end of the 1967 Chrysler Crown Imperial (from Cremaster 3), dismembered during the Los Angeles performance; Rouge Battery, forged in Detroit the once powerful heart of the American car industry, in copper and iron, incorporating the underside of the Chrysler Crown Imperial; and Boat of Ra, an inversion of Norman Mailer’s Brooklyn attic with a bronze cast of his writing desk, which was floated down the East River near Mailer’s home. In addition to other large works from the Haus der Kunst premiere, Barney has created new works in response to objects chosen from the MONA collection.

The artist
Matthew Barney (born San Francisco 1967) is known internationally for such works as his visionary five-component films forming the CREMASTER cycle (1994–2002) and his DRAWING RESTRAINT series (1987–ongoing), currently consisting of 21 filmed actions, the most recent of which took place at Haus der Kunst in early 2014. Barney has received numerous awards including the Aperto prize at the 1993 Venice Biennale; the Hugo Boss Award in 1996; the 2007 Kaiser Ring Award in Goslar, Germany and the San Francisco International Film Festival’s Persistence of Vision Award in 2011.  He lives and works in New York.

The composer
Jonathan Bepler (born Philadelphia 1959) was self-taught on many instruments by the time he attended Bennington College in 1982. His major areas of study were composition with Louis Calabro, improvisation with Bill Dixon, percussion with Milford Graves, and performance with artists and choreographers including Lisa Nelson and Min Tanaka. Bepler has worked with many choreographers, including John Jasperse, Sasha Waltz, Jennifer Lacey, and Wally Cardona, and has also led ensembles of both improvised and pre-composed music, appearing often in New York and Europe. His concert music includes commissions for the Ensemble Modern, the Glenn Branca Ensemble, and the Basel Synfonietta. His work with Matthew Barney has spanned nearly 20 years. He lives and works in Berlin.

Matthew Barney: RIVER OF FUNDAMENT is supported by the Laurenz Foundation, Schaulager, Basel; Gladstone Gallery, New York; Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Sadie Coles HQ, London.  The film RIVER OF FUNDAMENT is produced by Matthew Barney and Laurenz Foundation, written and directed by Matthew Barney, music composed by Jonathan Bepler.

For press information:  Delia Nicholls, research curator and media manager:
M +0438 308 161 / delia [​at​]



Matthew Barney: RIVER OF FUNDAMENT at Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
November 21, 2014

Thank you for your RSVP.

Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.