|| Paul McCarthy -
Brain Box Dream Box
19 June - 24 October 2004
New building / level 2: room 1 - 8
Paul McCarthy (USA, 1945) has been widely recognized since the 1990s
for his large-format video installations and sculptures. Many of
his works draw on the vocabulary of contemporary popular culture.
The genres he works with refer both to television and advertising
and to the phenomena of Hollywood and Disney. In addition to this,
McCarthy appropriates modern myths, introducing new critical content
into existing forms. His interest lies in the deeper psychological
strata of a culture which is caught in the standardized interplay
of family, education and the media world, a culture which not infrequently
loses sight of its own values and hence its focus. McCarthy's artistic
method, which involves breaking taboos in precisely choreographed
scenarios, is as challenging as it is intelligent and humorous.
It was only with the awakening interest in a younger generation
of West Coast artists that the work of this Los Angeles based
artist began to be
properly recognized by a wider public. In fact McCarthy has by
now had a crucial influence on the artistic climate of the
city for almost thirty years both as an artist and as a professor
at UCLA. No doubt it was the ephemeral nature of the performances,
videos and drawings he was creating in the 1970s and 80s that
kept McCarthy's work for many years only really known to a
small group of artists.
Paul McCarthy comes from a generation of artists who have responded
to the Minimalism and Concept Art of the 1960s by developing an
approach that seeks to reinstate the connection between artistic
activity and social reality. Like his colleagues Dan Graham and
Bruce Nauman - just slightly older than him - McCarthy
uses his work to explore the relationship between the individual
and society at large. But for McCarthy, artist-led spatial perception
is not only a model for an open (Graham) or an existentially oppressive
(Nauman) interface between the individual and society. In McCarthy's
work blatant role-plays recharge familiar situations with new contents,
both challenging and deconstructing them.
The exhibition Brain Box Dream Box is one over-arching continuum
which contains not only two extensive video installations from
1996 and 2003 and four large-scale sculptural ensembles, but
also around 200 drawings ranging from 1967 to the present day.
Hitherto unknown - never
having been shown in public - Paul McCarthy's breathtakingly
multi-faceted drawings form the backbone of the concept of this
exhibition. The drawings explain and elucidate, they take deliberate
transgressions to an extreme, they confuse and obfuscate. Their
expansive dimensions generate a mental tension that melds space
and viewer into a single entity - into what might best
be called a Brain Box Dream Box.
The exhibition is accompanied a programme of selected videos and a comprehensive publication with illustrations of all the works on show.
infotext (pdf, 159 KB)