Maurizio Cattelan was born in 1960 in Padua, Italy, and currently lives and works in New York.
Since the beginning of his carrier in the early Nineties, Cattelan has been questioning the ideas of coherence, style, and success. By mimicking the myths traditionally associated to the art world, Cattelan’s work tries to reflect the complexity of our daily and social interchange, represented as a series of endless rituals of humiliation and abuse of power, or, vice versa, as a joyful exercise in schizophrenia.
Split between stardom, laziness and democracy, Cattelan’s art grows in multiple directions, in a continuous exploration of different materials and strategies, often mediated both from art history and from the languages of mass media and advertising. For his first participation at the Venice Biennial in 1993, for example, Cattelan sold his space to an advertising company, writing a wry comment on the expectations we project on artists. In 1998, for his one person show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, he hired an actor who was forced to wear a gigantic mask with the features of Picasso and had to welcome tourists and visitors in the museum.
Cattelan’s works often verge onto the realm of surrealism, as in his intervention at the Venice Biennial in 1999, where he presented a live fakyr buried underground, creating both a striking image of weakness and submission and yet transforming one of the most important art event into a freak show.
Professor of Research Program (2000/2004)
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