press release

Brain Box Dream Box is the first solo exhibition by Paul McCarthy (born Salt Lake City, USA, 1945) in Spain. The show is an overview of the work of this artist that includes installations, videos and sculptures from the last ten years. These works enter into an intense dialogue with complete selection of about 200 drawings from 1967 to the present day. This exhibition has been organised with the collaboration of Hotel AC Málaga Palacio.

Paul McCarthy's work only became known to a wider public relatively late. This is attributable in part to its ephemeral origins in performance art in the 1970s, and in part to McCarthy's precisely staged, provocative defiance of certain taboos. Using exaggeration and satire, the artist flouts social conventions. He draws on a blatantly heightened vocabulary of sex and violence that lays bare before us the strata of our subconscious and a culture of consumption and entertainment that has long since ceased to be either appealing or innocent.

Brain Box Dream Box looks at a highly influential Postmodern Ïuvre and at the same time sheds light on the intuitive and conceptual aspects of Paul McCarthy's art. The drawings openly reveal his thought processes and working methods, while the three-dimensional works elicit a physical response from the viewer. Reason and feelings are not mutually exclusive in McCarthyÕs work - indeed they provide us with a comprehensive instrumentarium by which we may recognise our world.

The exhibition is completed with a selection of videos by Paul McCarthy, to be shown in different sessions open to the public and free of charge.

Humour and irreverence

Humorous, ironic and irreverent, McCarthy's work first came to attention in the 1970s with a series of performances and videos largely on the subject of human degradation, mutilation, perversion and scatological matters. From the mid-1980s he devoted himself consistently to sculpture, with a recent emphasis on large-scale inflatable works, such as the example exhibited outside the Tate Gallery in London last year.

In his work, McCarthy frequently uses an idiom and iconography drawn from North American consumer culture, from Disneyland to Hollywood as dream factory. His approach to these subjects, however, offers a new perspective, transforming these environments into disturbing and grotesque scenarios which draw our attention to the de-humanisation and brutality underlying the West's apparent social equilibrium.

This exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven/The Netherlands and has been curated by Eva Meyer-Hermann.


only in german

Paul McCarthy. Brain Box Dream Box
Kurator: Eva Meyer-Hermann