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White Snow Head image


Silicone (flesh), fibreglass, steel

140 x 160 x 185 cm

Photo by Genevieve Hanson, Courtesy of the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Kukje Gallery
Image provided by Kukje Gallery


Paul McCarthy occupies a critically important place in contemporary art. For more than four decades his work has repeatedly challenged audiences to confront popular myths and wrestle with the psychological undercurrents of capitalism. His work is both generous and confrontational; meticulously conceived and crafted no matter what medium he uses, his complex, often overlapping projects have come to define the zeitgeist of postmodern visual art. Exploiting genres as diverse as sculpture, performance, film, and photography, McCarthy has invented an entirely new category of art making—a mash-up of mass media and cultural fantasia that is at once universal and deeply personal.

One of the unique ways the artist works is to recycle and reclaim aspects of his fabrication process as a means of creating new and unpredictable sculptures. He has likened these works to “spin-offs,” alluding both to their material evolution and the popular term in Hollywood for cross-marketing entertainment products.

In the case of Snow White, McCarthy has created numerous intersecting bodies of works including video, installation, and sculpture under the title White Snow (WS). Typically hidden from view within the sculpture itself, the artist began using the core, a component of the casting process, as a “spin-off,” presenting an unsettling vision of what lies beneath or within the fictional characters—in effect, presenting the interior space of popular myths.