Portikus Frankfurt announces the world premiere of CREMASTER 5, a film piece by Matthew Barney

(b. in San Francisco, now living in New York). CREMASTER 5 is the last part of an epic cycle of self-contained video films, all of which came into being in a specific place, or, in the case of CREMASTER 2 and CREMASTER 3, are still coming into being: in a football stadium in Idaho; on the 'Columbia Ice Field' in Canada; in the Chrysler Building, New York; on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea; in the State Opera, in the Gellert thermal baths and on the chain bridge in Budapest. Budapest, the setting for CREMASTER 5, is also the place of birth of the legendary escape artist Harry Houdini (1874-1926) who, like the football-legend Jim Otto, plays a symbolic part in Barney's work.

With his wholly individual visual language, rich in metaphor and symbol, Matthew Barney has enjoyed an international reputation since the early 90s. Early videos like OTTOshaft and DRAWING RESTRAINT mainly address the notion of sculpture while the CREMASTER videos are more concerned with questions of cinematography and story-telling.

The CREMASTER series centres on the conflicts involved in the prenatal stages of any reproductive system. In CREMASTER 1 two zeppelins float above a football stadium in the form of a 'Y' like a creature as yet unborn and before its sex is determined (i.e. during the first seven weeks in the development of a human foetus). Different characters in the CREMASTER series reflect opposing forces which seek to influence the fate of the unborn creature and, in doing so, create an arc of narrative tension. The cremaster muscles - which lend their name to this work by Matthew Barney - are the muscles which raise or lower the testicles according to temperature and anxiety levels. The term, Greek in origin, literally means 'that which suspends' and here becomes a metaphor for being in suspense, in some as yet undefined state: a biological process as the symbolic battlefield in the struggle to define a sculptural form.

Matthew Barney wrote the book for CREMASTER 5, operated both in front of and behind the camera, supervised the sound and the editing. Its presentation at Portikus will transform the whole gallery including the external façade: a visualisation of the possible, completing a circle encompassing the actual theme of Barney's work, its mode of presentation and the very concept of Portikus itself as a focal centre of experiment. Matthew Barney's own words in a interview: "The most memorable thing anyone ever said to me about my work came from this guy who had a custodial job in a hockey rink. He'd go there at five in the morning every morning and turn the vapor lights on, and he'd sit down in the front row behind the Plexiglas at the edge of the empty rink. Those lights go rose and then green and then they start to get cool and go whiter and whiter. He described my work as like watching that artificial sunrise - the melancholia of experiencing something in a state of potential."

The exhibition in Portikus is being held with support from Hugo Boss. Matthew Barney is the first winner of the Hugo Boss Prize of the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York.