’Pig Island’ by Paul McCarthy at Palazzo Citterio
Famed for his grotesque mutations of carnivalesque scenes, American artist, Paul McCarthy, has spent seven years working on his latest spectacle, ’Pig Island’, and the results are characteristically depraved.
On show at the recently unveiled Palazzo Citterio, the giant sculpture is a kind of treasure island in reverse, on which the shipwrecked characters indulge their appetites for violence, sex and fast food in a moment of wild abandon. It’s a 100 sq metre microcosm of some of the themes that have occupied his career - his obsession with the body, sexuality and power.
Pig Island is a giant work-in-progress, developed in the artist’s studio and seen here for the first time. The haphazard, theme park-like sculpture occupies the underground bunker of the Milanese palazzo - which has been abandoned for 30 years - and is the latest in Fondazione Nicola Trussardi’s series of shows in historic sites in the city.
The installation is shown alongside some of McCarthy’s earlier works, including ’Dreaming’ - a life-like sculpture of his semi-naked self - and ’Caribbean Pirates’ - a parody of the movie industry.
Despite the violence and excess, there’s enough humour in McCarthy’s work to save it from gratuitous exhibitionism. While certainly warped and somewhat disturbing, the scenes he creates are closer to Disney cartoons than S&M dungeons - and the face of George W. Bush popping up on Pig Island is sure to encourage a few sniggers.