The focal point of Matthey Barney’s first solo exhibition in the UK for more than a decade, currently showing at the Hayward Gallery on Southbank London, is the feature length film Redoubt.

Redoubt, 2018

The film which runs for 2 hours and 14 minutes traces a wolf hunt spread over six days in Idaho’s Sawtoooth Mountains. Redoubt is a reimagining of the Roman myth of Diana, the goddess of hunting, and the hunter Actaeon from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Cosmic Hunt with Redoubt playing in the background
Cosmic Hunt with Redoubt screening in the background

In Redoubt, Diana is played by sharpshooter Anette Wachter, while Barney loosely takes on the role of Actaeon, appearing as an engraver employed by the US Forest Service. The film explores the conflict between ecologists, landowners and hunters. Another central character is the Hoop Dancer, who choreographs the dramatic conclusion of the wolf hunt.

Despite the classic illusions and modern issues intertwined in the film, possibly its most striking aspect is the stunning snowy landscape of the mountains, particularly with the tall arrow-like evergreen lodgepole pines that stretch towards the heaven.

Redoubt, the Exhibition

In the film Barney creates a series of copper engravings which undergo an electrochemical transformation. This is a theme the artist continues in the exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, that is spread over two floors with the film screening as its centrepiece.

Redoubt Matthew Barney
Barney’s immense scuptures involve fallen trees.

Barney’s sculptures, a mix of metal and naturally fallen and burned wood, are immense. Entering the exhibition you immediately encounter Cosmic Hunt (2020), Barney’s most recent sculpture that is itself an illusion to the wolf hunt. Structured around a tree trunk, the sculpture takes on the appearance of a weapon as well as a telescope providing a cosmic reference in line with the film’s mythology. Next to it are electroplated copper plates all referencing the film.

This series of sculptures and copper plates continues upstairs, with fallen trees transformed into weapons occupying the immense space of the Hayward Gallery. Diana appears in many of the copper plates, her face transforming into a skeleton as you move around the room due to changes in the shimmering light.

The visually striking exhibition was curated by Cliff Lauson.

Redoubt by Matthew Barney

Runs at the Hayward Gallery to 25 July, 2021. The gallery is open from Wednesday to Saturday (11am to 7pm), and Sunday (10am to 6pm). Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Tickets cost £12 (excludes £3 booking fee). Buy a ticket here.

Redoubt, 2018, screening times: Wednesday to Saturday – 11:05am, 1:20pm, 3:40pm. Sunday – 10:05am, 12:20pm, 2:40pm.

Further information on the exhibition

Can be found here. The Hayward Gallery is also showing Kicking Dust by Igshaan Adams to 25 July. Entrance is free with a ticket for Redoubt.