Currently reading : Paul McCarthy’s Black and White Tapes at SPACE
129””131 Mare Street
London E8 3RH
As part of a triple exhibition at London’s Space Studios, a series of black and white video works by American contemporary fine artist Paul McCarthy are on show simultaneously as part of an immersive installation.
The series of 13 works know as the ‘Black and White Tapes’ playing concurrently in the gallery’s main space were recorded by the artist between 1971 and 1975 while studying film and video at the University of Southern California . “I was coming from an art background and really wasn’t interested in narrative,” he says of their conception, made by enlisting the video technician of nearby Dental school who would allow him unrestricted and unaccompanied access of what was then rarely accessible equipment.
The tapes see the artist in various states of unrest, dragging paint across the floor with his hair, face and body, ritualistically repeating simple actions, laughing hysterically, presenting and tugging at his own naked body and spitting directly into the lens of the camera; “In the beginning [they] were very much about me as the artist, very minimal, just using whatever was in the room.” The fairly violent and to a degree self-deprecating actions see him question the often heightened position of the male artist, influenced by the Viennese Actionists and replacing the fairly weighty subjects of the brief and violent movement for that more immediately relevant to McCarthy, the unrest of the everyday that would go on to define the focus of his oeuvre, and give an insight into his early intentions and the interests continued through the now increasingly polished and technically ambitious sculpture and installation.
Below is an excerpt of the series from the Performancelogia Performance Art Archive.
The exhibition runs until 16th March.