Paul McCarthy

Paul McCarthy

Monnaie de Paris

Courtsey of the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

October 14, 2014

Paul McCarthy: Chocolate Factory
October 25, 2014–January 4, 2015

Monnaie de Paris
11 quai de Conti
75006 Paris 

On the occasion of its reopening, Monnaie de Paris presents Chocolate Factory, an exhibition by Paul McCarthy. On view from October 25, 2014 to January 4, 2015, Chocolate Factory will be installed in the newly renovated exhibition spaces at Monnaie de Paris, marking the beginning of a new phase of contemporary art programs at Monnaie de Paris curated by Chiara Parisi, the Director of Cultural Programs.
Paul McCarthy, a central figure in the international contemporary art world and an inspiration for generations of artists, brings the energy and endless reinvention of the city of Los Angeles to his first major solo exhibition in a Paris institution. First realized seven years ago in New York City, this reinstallation of Chocolate Factory in Paris will build upon its previous installation, using the shift in context from the white cube and austere setting of the Maccarone gallery to the ornate and Baroque Salle Guillaume Dupré to transform and evolve the project.

The exhibition welcomes visitors in the grand staircase with a grove of giant inflatable sculptures, which reference both modernist sculpture and Christmas trees, a form to provide pleasure. These sculptures of industrial proportion and materiality also point to street advertising, marrying the wonders of Hollywood and the western consumer culture dream.

Upon entering the main exhibition hall, one finds an operational chocolate factory situated inside an adobe-style film set. The rustic thin architecture of the set creates a stark contrast to the elaborate interior of the Salle Guillaume Dupré, representing a nostalgic and historic notion of perfection and opulence. It is this juxtaposition of high and low that is at the heart of McCarthy’s oeuvre.

The chocolate figurines produced inside the exhibition are inspired by the mythical character of Santa Claus and his emblem, the Christmas tree. Here, Paul McCarthy recreates a full production line, the very mechanisms of representation, production and sale for consumption. The visitor observes workers/performers engaged in the production of chocolate figurines accumulating in abundance. These ephemeral objects are churned out in an absurd performance in pursuit of a non-viable economy. Within the walls of the oldest Parisian factory, Chocolate Factory expresses a will of mise en abîme, questioning the notion of seriality in the very building where coins are minted in the dozens and hundreds of millions. Unlimited, edible and perishable, these figurines are sold at the front desk and bookstore. With each day, the Chocolate Factory grows as a sculpture, creating logistic problems, storage problems, and ultimately affecting its ability to function.

In the adjoining 18th-century rooms, Paul McCarthy’s exhibition continues with a site-specific video work, inviting the viewer to enter into a dreamscape that turns reality into a world of absurdity. The work’s repeating images mine the subconscious and our repression of taboo associations, ideas and thoughts. A place of unconsciousness, of self absence, it is a counterpoint to the frantic pace of the factory. One’s immersion into these spaces evokes a place between waking and sleeping.

This project, which arose from a discussion with scholar Donatien Grau, offers the opportunity to discover, within the unique setting of Monnaie de Paris, one of the most important contemporary artists of his generation.

The exhibition is supplemented with the publication of a book entirely conceived by Paul McCarthy and published by Hatje Cantz, a special edition medal and a Moleskine box set of nine tokens designed by the artist. 

Chocolate Factory by Paul McCarthy is realized in collaboration with Chocolatier Damiens.

Director of Communication
Guillaume Robic
T + 33 (0)1 40 46 58 18 / guillaume.robic [​at​]

Claudine Colin Communication
Press contact
Avril Boisneault
T + 33 (0)1 42 72 60 01 / avril [​at​]

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October 14, 2014

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