Paul McCarthy

What's on: Paul McCarthy

Hauser & Wirth

Back in April, the Big Daddy of transgression was given license to run riot in the sober rooms of this Lutyens-designed former Midland Bank, and the resulting filmed performances in the pre-conversion spaces (sadly enacted for the eyes of the film crew and gallery staff only) form the core of this extraordinary inaugural show (16 October-16 November). At the time of the performance, entitled “Piccadilly Circus”, the Iraq war was in full swing, and the action revolves around a series of predictably messy encounters between a George Bush figure, no less than three English Queen Elizabeths and Osama Bin Laden, who McCarthy portrays as having set up home in one of the building’s basement vaults (above, a still). Brought together in a complex interplay are projected images of the acted events unfolding, debris from these enactments and various facsimile reconstructions of the original spaces which were used for more performances back in McCarthy’s Los Angeles studio, for what promises to be one of his most important and controversial works of recent years.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 140 October 2003