Self Lubricating Plastic, Oh My

On the left is The Deportment of the Host, a large installation, and on the right is a print entitled Drawing Restraint 9: Shimenawa. These seem very different in size, style, material, and theme, so that one might think all they had in common the room they are in.

These two works have in common 2 qualities: the artist, Matthew Barney, and a material, not immediately apparent, of self lubricating plastic. Matthew Barney is a contemporary American artist whose works spans performance, sculpture and video art, with a tendency toward cryptic personal stories and erotic themes. Quite a few of Barney’s works incorporate this material. In the print, it forms the frame around an image of Matthew Barney and Bjork. His use of this odd material certainly seems cryptic.

But to the point, what is self lubricating plastic, and why does Barney use it? It seems like a high tech product used to little effect, except perhaps the fondness of a biology major for cool technology. He tends to cast polycaprolactone thermoplastic and self lubricating plastic in his sculptural pieces like The Deportation of the Host. Using anything lubricating in regards to framing a print doesn’t make sense to me.

The plastic didn’t seem to be wet, although I was stopped from touching it. Any ideas?

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