Hygiene is the religion of fascism, Paul McCarthy told to his interlocutor in an interview in which he spoke of his intention to transform Hummel porcelain figurines into grotesque characters with phallic noses.
His desire to unveil the obscene side of the idyllic pastoral life represented by these kitsch statuettes, to desecrate his cloying neatness, extends to all his artistic production, dedicated to turning the patriarchal morality around.
And against social hygiene McCarthy proposes the orgiastic overflow, pushing men and women back to a maddening infantile stage, as if the different phases of the psycho development of which Freud spoke (oral, anal, phallic, genital …) hatch at the same time.
Hollywood and Disneyland have been inspiring his eschatological vodevils since the seventies. From his first video-performances, like “Rocky” (1976) punching himself (on an in crescendo that only interrupts to jerk off splashed with ketchup), to hardcore remakes of Pinocchio, Heidi or Snow White …, McCarthy subverts with black humor the virility myth, the heroic artist legend, the happy family idea… engenderers of violence at different levels.
The two series that are exhibited these days in the Fundació Gaspar (paintings and drawings), Snow White and Coach Stage, have already known previous versions in film and sculptural format …, according to the characteristic procedure of the artist that reiterates characters and icons, degrading them to the point of physical nausea.
In “Coach Stage”, which takes its name from the legendary John Ford film (Stagecoach, 1939), the genuinely American genre of western is used to stage cowboys on the verge of being castrated, or merging with stallions ridden by amazons so hornball as them, with open vaginas clipped from porno magazines, between ads of cowboy boots and Dolce&Gabbana perfume.
As gore posters of porn cinema, what show these colorful paintings in large format (among whose angry brushstrokes appear photographs of Brad Pitt or Robert Redfort taken from the same magazines) is the sexploitation as a totalitarian regime that invades publicity, cinema …, and that, in essence, support the American way of life.
Ironic allusions to the classic and modern painting are also a constant in his iconoclastic subversions, being now turn of Manet and his Déjeuner sur l’Herbe. In McCarthy’s version, the nude is democratized. No longer is the female exposed and vulnerable to the gaze of the dressed men, but all lose their roles similarly.
In respect of the other series, Snow White, the Disney damsel is no longer neither white nor pure. The prince takes her in his arms and manages to awake her, but not quite with a kiss. Of necrophilic loves also speak the drawings that accompany the canvases: Snow White simulates getting to sleep to let herself being touched by a prince who seems more like a satyr, and from time to time some dwarf emerges like a tempting incubus.
The ribbon in her hair is the only thing that Snow White preserves, staying intact despite bacchanals, fellatios and so on.
Coprophagia, sodomy … there is no hole that is not penetrated or plugged with shit, being this a metaphor of the consumerist gluttony that idiotize and vulgarize, an education that we also swallow without filters passing over from generation to generation as virus annihilating consciences, of a swallow without recycling the garbage media with our porous body that becomes pure viscosity formless. Being reduced to abject disturbance.
Paul McCarthy: WS & CSSC, Drawings and Paintings
Fundación Gaspar. Barcelona
until 16 July