Pig Island

Angelina Jolie, George W Bush, Colonel Sanders, pirates and cowboys are among the peculiar cast of Paul McCarthy’s dystopian Pig Island installation.

Pig Island (detail) 2003 – 2010

Source: © Paul McCarthy Courtesy the artist and Hauser&Wirth Photo: Mario De Scalzi

Pig Island (detail) 2003 – 2010

Los Angeles-based artist McCarthy’s forthcoming show, The King, The Island, The Train, The House, The Ship, will showcase a number of his sculptures and installations, spanning both the Savile Row and Piccadilly Hauser & Wirth galleries.

Pig Island (detail) 2003 – 2010

Source: © Paul McCarthy Courtesy the artist and Hauser&Wirth Photo: Mario De Scalzi

Pig Island (detail) 2003 – 2010

The vast Pig Island is a vast, grotesque exploration of politics and pop culture, showing the aforementioned motley crew of politicians and renegades rubbing shoulders with Disney characters and the artist himself, frequently in unnerving or compromising positions.

 Pig Island 2003 – 2010

Source: © Paul McCarthy Courtesy the artist and Hauser&Wirth Photo: Mario De Scalzi

Pig Island 2003 – 2010

Seven years in the making, the island is created from blocks of polystyrene adorned with wood, cast body parts, clay, spray paint and old fast food containers surrounded by a sea of blue carpeting.

Many of the elements are entirely accidental: during the period in which the work was created, McCarthy’s workplace and work began to merge into one. The piece gradually accumulated rubbish and debris into its being, becoming as much a demonstration of McCarthy’s working practice as a finished piece.

Train, Mechanical (detail) 2003-2009

Source: © Paul McCarthy Courtesy the artist and Hauser&Wirth Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Train, Mechanical (detail) 2003-2009

In another charming piece, McCarthy has drawn on the fruits of Pig Island to create a disturbing mechanical sculpture Train, Mechanical, showing two caricatures of George W Bush doing unmentionable things to pigs. Henry Moore, this is not.

Paul McCarthy Train, Mechanical 2003-2009

Source: © Paul McCarthy Courtesy the artist and Hauser&Wirth Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Paul McCarthy Train, Mechanical 2003-2009

The centrepiece of the Piccadilly gallery space installation is The King, a platform on which a model of McCarthy  – complete with blonde wig and partially severed limbs – resides over the platform, surrounded by paintings created on the easel.

The rather aptly titled Mad House Jr mechanical work is a shaking cube-like room that shakes and spins whilst a camera inside records all of its movements. According to the gallery, the aim of the piece it so create ‘an environment of physical and mental disorientation’, though judging by the other works on show, we’re fairly sure McCarthy wouldn’t need too much help with that.

Paul McCarthy The King, The Island, The Train, The House, The Ship is showing at Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row and Piccadilly from 16 November – 14 January 2012

Paul McCarthy’s outdoor sculpture Ship Adrift, Ship of Fools will be on view until 15 February at St James’s Square

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