A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
Paul McCarthy uses the tantalizing aroma of cacao to sweeten the harsh criticism towards consumerism and mass production. Currently on stage at Monnaie de Paris, Chocolate Factory is the latest provocative art installation realised by the American conceptual artist. Seducing the visitors with its rounded and comforting smell, Chocolate Factory brings to reality the fantastic tale of Willy Wonka, spiced up with explicit content and sharp analysis. An inflatable forest of Christmas trees welcomes the visitors on the staircase, marking the entrance into McCarthy’s twisted wonderland. Confectioners hard at work keep alive the *Factory*, continuously making chocolate sculptures in the shape of pervert Santa Claus and butt plugs, which are stored upon industrial shelves. The mass production of goods as well as their fleeting nature subtly refers to the consumerist values on which contemporary societies rely. Nothing stops this insane machine that is filling up the historical French building with chocolate in unlimited quantity, eventually on sale at the exhibition’s shop. The mechanism of production and sale ironically recall the supreme commercialization of art. Later on McCarthy drags the visitors into his own personal dream world, dominated by sick projections of himself scribing furiously while repeating sentences in a loop. The words suggest he is replaying the comments hurled at him in response to the inflating butt plug sculpture he paced in Place Vendome few weeks before the opening of Chocolate Factory. Mounds of chocolate figures grow by the day to form one massive sculpture, culminating on the final day of the exhibition. Once Chocolate Factory will be closed, its legacy will be kept in a gallery as a permanent trace of the art installation.
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down in a most delightful way.