Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley in an insane family drama

Now Showing: Paul McCarthy
1st – 29th February 2010

Family Tyranny & Cultural Soup were cut from two days of taped performance at a community television studio in 1987. Featuring McCarthy’s fellow artist Mike Kelley, the videos are disturbing tableaux of familial horror, steeped in the stomach turning abjection that characterises the artist’s now renowned body of work.

Performed within a barely credible domestic set the format and characters in the videos enact several tropes of televised entertainment  – the unruly teenager (as Mike Kelley attempts an escape through a window-like aperture) and the ‘how-to’ format of the cooking or DIY programme. The characters, just like the set, sit on the very edge of plausibility whilst the props also take on a life of their own at the border between representation and reality. It is this juncture, between fact and fiction, that McCarthy occupies in order to examine the dark fictions of cultural convention.

Rather than produce these works as performance in 1987 McCarthy used that very contemporary tool of representation – video – to situate Family Tyranny and Cultural Soup closer to the domestic sphere than an ephemeral art event would have allowed. is pleased to be able to re-situate this work once again within the context of an online community that experiences broadcast media in a way that could not previously have been imagined.

This show is held in conjunction with a screening of McCarthy’s Contemporary Cure All and F-Fort on the 6th February at 7pm in Tate Modern’s Starr Auditorium. Book your tickets early through the Tate box office.