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MIF News

River of Fundament

Posted on Monday 10 February 2014

Photo of Matthew Barney by Ari Marcopulis

Throughout 2014 Manchester International Festival presents River of Fundament on a worldwide tour on behalf of the artists Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler.

We first worked with Matthew Barney back in 2007, our very first Festival, as part of Il Tempo Del Postino, a group show co-curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno. Matthew joined a host of other world leading artists including Tino Sehgal, Olafur Eliasson, Doug Aitken, Tacita Dean and Trisha Donnelly to present world premieres of their work, not in a gallery, but live on stage at Manchester Opera House.

You can watch the complete performance of Il Tempo del Postino here.

This was Matthew's first examination of Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings which has subsequently developed into the much larger work River of Fundament, that we now have the privilege to represent.

Exclusive excerpts of the film were shown at MIF13, with a chance to hear Barney and Bepler discuss the project and their collaborative process. Now to be shown around the world, this epic film fuses narrative cinema, sculpture and opera, a multidimensional experience interspersed with remarkable live performances filmed over six years. Written and directed by Matthew Barney with music written and directed by Jonathan Bepler, River of Fundament features Maggie Gyllenhaal, Paul Giamatti, Elaine Stritch, Ellen Burstyn, Joan La Barbara, and jazz percussionist Milford Graves.

Read an interview with both Barney and Bepler in the New York Times here and see s selection of images from the film below.

River of Fundament tour dates can be found here.


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Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events and takes place biennially, in Manchester, UK. The Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning Festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture.

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