Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Paul McCarthy: The King, The Island, The Train, The House, The Ship - Hauser & Wirth

Paul McCarthy,  Train, Mechanical, 2003—2009 (detail)
Hauser & Wirth are presenting a major exhibition of the visceral work of Paul McCarthy. Not for the fainthearted. Train, Mechanical (see above and below) is described by the gallery as follows: a mechanical sculpture showing twin pot-bellied caricatures of George W. Bush sodomising two pigs. Each of the figures performs a choreographed set of actions – their asses move rhythmically back and forth, their mouths open and close, their heads spin and, when approached, their heads and beady eyes follow the viewer around the space. Watch a video of the work in action, here.
Paul McCarthy,  Train, Mechanical, 2003—2009
'The King' is described as a monumental installation consist[ing] of a platform surrounded by large-scale airbrush paintings that were created on the easel that stands on the platform. Atop the platform is a throne upon which a silicone model of McCarthy sits stark naked with partly severed limbs, closed eyes and wearing a long blonde wig. 
Paul McCarthy, The King, 2006-11
For more of  a flavour of McCarthy's work (by all accounts, principally ketchup and mustard) watch this 'classic' video, Painter (1995).
Paul McCarthy, Painter, 1995 (video)
From UbuWeb:
In Painter, McCarthy, decked out in a blonde wig, a bulbous drinker's nose, and giant latex hands, staggers around a small, wood-paneled studio with an immense paint brush, yammering things like, "I can't do it, I can't do it," and, "DeKooning, DeKooning, DeKooning." He punctures the sides of gigantesque tubes of paint (one is labeled "Shit"), mixes the paint, then slashes and hacks big crude Expressionist swaths onto canvases with crazy electric blue and orange grounds. During the course of the video, he meanders between adjoining rooms ranting against his dealer, sitting in on an absurd conversation with pretentious, bulbous-nosed scholars, has a sycophantic collector sniff his asshole, and chops off his own fingers with a cleaver. Painter is a hilarious satire of inflated Abstract Expressionists and the art world in general, but it is not only that. When McCarthy obsessively mixes his gallons of shit-brown paint, loads up his brush, and, grunting and waving, goes to his canvas, he is pointing towards something important: that paint is the same as shit and dirt -- just unruly filth that flows and stains. That finally, the hopeless drive to make art is drunken, humiliated, violent, sexual and infantile, perhaps tragic as well. (Brooklyn Rail)
Paul McCarthy, Puppet, 2005-8 (detail)
Read Jonathan Jones' interview with McCarthy: 'I had this thing about exposing the interior of the body', and exhibition review by Adrian Searle. See also Daddy's Little Helper, by Michael Duncan in Frieze from 2003.
The exhibition continues at Hauser & Wirth until 14 January, 2012. An outdoor work, Ship Adrift, Ship of Fools, can be seen in St James's Square.

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