Inside Laurina Paperina's 'mad world'

 "Care to superhero-size your googly-eyed, drippy multi-patty mondo burger with a side of Spider-Man, Nirvana and Mr. T? Count Italian artist Laurina Paperina as definitely down for that delightfully bad-taste pop-art mashup.

"I draw what I see, what I feel ... and what I eat," she e-mails on a break from installing her current Fouladi Projects exhibit, "Bad Smell." "I get inspiration from music and 'trash television,' from video games, comics and quotes from movies, sometimes from real life and other times not."


Her approach mixes punk irreverence, pop-culture iconography and millennial/pre-apocalyptic preoccupations in a blender, filters the lot through a dark, personal prism and delivers it with a comic-book splat on paper, in animation, as part of an installation or in the form of figurines.

It's a world populated by enraged and electrified kitties, slashers in search of Smurf victims, flatulent marmots and the many decapitated noggins of cute cartoon characters.

Finding meaning in the seemingly random pop vortex, she plucks out characters and icons like Spock or the Sex Pistols' queen-bedecked Union Jack and gives them a strange or sick kick that boots them into her own continuing narrative.

"I think that the people should see my pieces all together to understand my work," the artist says. "They are like a puzzle."

"Bad Smell's" installation, video animations, drawings, paintings and neon work draw mostly from her consumption - pop or otherwise - from the past year.

"There are a lot of different characters as junk food, mutant animals or celebrity and famous artists," she says. "All these characters are represented in an ironic and funny way, because it is a joke about our mad world."

What lies behind the madness? The Rovereto, Italy, native seems intent on hiding behind the fantasy realm she's created, asserting on her website that "She now lives in Duckland, a small town in the universe. She doesn't want to make serious art!" while her "How to Kill the Artists" series puts Basquiat, Dali and others in her gross-out, gorehound sights.

Yet when pressed these days, Paperina is a bit more forthcoming.

"Behind all those bizarre and colorful creatures hides my view of life and death," explains the artist, who adds that she adores street culture, comic books and graffiti art. "So what could I say to represent this exhibition? 'Hell, yeah!' of course."

Through Oct. 27. Noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Fouladi Projects, 1803 Market St., S.F. (415) 621-2535.