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The esthetics of excrement

Contemporary Art | When the artist sticks his nose in poop, he shows us what we don’t want to see, what our body and mind evacuate at least once a day : a humid, hot, odoriferous mass, with a chromatic range spanning yellow to dark brown, reddish to greenish, and of variable consistency : soft to hard, flaccid to pasty.

Paul McCarthy, Complex Pile, 2007 © Hauser & Wirth
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Paul McCarthy, Complex Pile, 2007
© Hauser & Wirth

The avant-garde years of the 1960’s and 70’s were marked by autarkic experimentation. In May 1961, after breaking with his father, the owner of a canned meat factory who called his son a “shitty artist”, Piero Manzoni seizes on his father’s expression. Inversing the terms, he gives the expression new meaning, preserving his intimate personal production “au naturel” in 90 cans of 30 grams each. Today, Merda d’artista has entered into museums and art history : attitude has become form.

The French painter […]

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Version française

Paul McCarthy, Complex Pile, 2007 © Hauser & Wirth Piero Manzoni, Merda d’artista 1961 © Centre Pompidou Gérard Gasiorowski Tourtes, premiers essais avec recettes © Galerie Adrien Maegh Wim Delvoye, Cloaca Original,2000 © Wim Delvoye Andres Serrano, SHIT, (Sel portait Shit),2008 © Yvon Lambert Gallery

Paul McCarthy, Complex Pile, 2007
© Hauser & Wirth

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