Cut Up A
Los Angeles, b.1945
182.9 x 76.2 x 61 cm
Photo by Walla Walla Foundry
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.
In Cut Ups, McCarthy has used a 3D-scanner to map an existing cast of his own naked body and once again casts it in high-density urethane resin. Cutting and reassembling these detailed scans, McCarthy again confronts the way form consists of both external and internal structures. By exploiting prototyping processes and casting technology, the artist is able to create hyper-real, life-sized sculptures that teeter between fun-house horror and classical statuary. Similarly, in cutting and revealing the material embodiment of the human figure, McCarthy points to the ritual function of sculpture and as well as the more mundane omnipresence of mass-produced objects.