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Paul McCarthy

Basement Bunker: Painted Queen Small Blue Room, U.S.A, 2003

C print on aluminum (photo by Anne-Marie Rounkle)183x122cm

Courtesy of the artist and Hauser and Wirth Gallery, Z├╝rich, London

Paul McCarthy is one of the most influential artists in the world today. Since the 1970s his work has dealt with the languages and imagery of American consumer culture, from Disneyland to Hollywood, and presents them in a grotesque light. This presentation reveals the reality of a dysfunctional society lurking behind the backdrop of the American dream.

In this piece, which was exhibited as part of a video and performance installation in London, McCarthy addresses contemporary global events, more specifically the political leaders of that reality. By means of enlarged masks and clown costume he styles the figures in comic fashion, which twists and distorts their appearance. These are not commentaries on existing figures, but rather representations of ideological, systems, values and moral approaches. The effect of the distortion hints at psychological processes of regression and a state of infantilization, self-destructiveness and compulsive behaviour. The impression left on the viewer by the piece is one of loneliness and helplessness. In this way the piece reconstructs psychological processes present in our present day political and social reality, which prefers to stress terrorism and fear in order to avoid a reasoned and intuitive engagement with the situation.