Win McCarthy (US)

Win McCarthy - Master (2019)
Delirious (2019)
Photography Gert Jan van Rooij

Win McCarthy - Master (2019)

The work made by the American artist Win McCarthy (b. 1986) for DELIRIOUS turned out to be a great mystery to many visitors of Lustwarande. As a viewer, you were confronted with the question of whether you were really looking at art. A number of crates, loosely put together, looked as if they might be waiting to be collected or as if they were concealing mysterious contents. This act of hiding and withholding is a comment on the modern tendency to share our private sphere with the entire world – not an unjustified concern in the age of social media.

McCarthy rarely gives interviews and little is known about his personal life, but his practice appears to be a depiction of his own inner feelings regarding the turbulent urban condition of his hometown of New York. His practice combines photography, text and sculpture. Exhibitions consist of architectural models, with photographs of daily life displayed alongside glass casts of faces and feet. Pieces of cut-out text, made up of lists of names or excerpts from McCarthy’s artist’s statement, are stuck to tables in various places. Life-size foot sculptures stand on tables, with toy wheels attached to the underside. On the walls hang the most minimalist human forms imaginable, like a figure that a child might make out of matches, but larger. Sometimes with a piece of clothing hanging on them, sometimes with a transparent glass mask, prompting thoughts of trauma, concealing and hiding, but also of protection.

McCarthy makes purely associative installations. His works appear to be images from troubled dreams and sometimes even nightmares, overwhelming visitors with a torrent of different emotions, ranging from amusement at the mobile feet to confusion, admiration, curiosity, aversion and fear. The experience of McCarthy’s work cannot be seen independently of the theme of the work itself: an overstimulated individual trying to keep afloat in a chaotic and ruthless urban environment.