Maurizio Cattelan

Born in 1960 - Italy


Maurizio Cattelan (21 September 1960, Padua, Italy) is an Italian artist. He is known for his satirical sculptures, particularly La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour), depicting Pope John Paul II struck down by a meteorite.

Cattelan started his career in the 1980s making wooden furniture in Forlì (Italy), where he came to know some designers, like Ettore Sottsass.

He made a catalogue of his work, which he sent to galleries. This promotion gave him an opening in design and contemporary art. He created a sculpture of an ostrich with its head buried in the ground, wore a costume of a figurine with a giant head of Picasso, and affixed a Milanese gallerist to a wall with tape. During this period, he also created the Oblomov Foundation.

Cattelan’s art makes fun of various systems of order – be it social niceties or his regular digs at the art world – and he often utilises themes and motifs from art of the past and other cultural sectors in order to get his point across. Cattelan saw no reason why contemporary art should be excluded from the critical spotlight it shines on other areas of life and his work seeks to highlight the incongruous nature of the world and our interventions within it no matter where they may lie. His work was often based on simple puns or subverts clichéd situations by, for example, substituting animals for people in sculptural tableaux. Frequently morbidly fascinating, Cattelan’s dark humour sets his work above the simple pleasures of well-made visual one-liners.

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Exposition personnelle

at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich;
Artpace, San Antonio, Texas;
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris;
the Kunsthalle Basel, Basel;
Project 65 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York;
at Castello di Rivoli, Turin;
Le Consortium, Dijon;
Wiener Secession, Vienna.
Major retrospective, assembling 130 objects of Cattelan's career since 1989, opened in 2011 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Skulptur Projekte Münster (1997),
the Tate Gallery, London (1999),
the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2003)
the Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2003),
Venice Biennale (1993, 1997, 1999, and 2002),
Manifesta 2 (1998), Luxembourg,
Melbourne International Biennial 1999,
2004 Whitney Biennial in New York.
2012 group show Lifelike originating at the Walker Art Center.

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