Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan (1960) is known as the art world’s agent provocateur, using what seem to be stunts to address universal themes around the nature of dogma, power and death.
Maurizio Cattelan always carries his pictorial statements to extremes so that the realistic depiction of well-practiced social and art world conventions tips over into the absurd and ridiculous. Rather theatrical and ephemeral in his actions, objects, and installations, but deploying ironic sophistication and unexpected turns, the artist spares no taboo in unmasking deceitfulness.
Maurizio Cattelan’s work “America” (an 18 karat golden toilet) is one of the Guggenheim museum’s public restrooms. “America” is a working toilet cast from gold, which museumgoers are allowed to use just as they would any other facility in the building. In a gallery environment where visitors are usually told, “don’t touch,” this is an extraordinary opportunity to spend time completely alone with a work of art.
The Pope felled by a meteorite as if by the hand of God (“La Nona Ora,” 1999).
Him, 2001 is a sculpture of a kneeling Hitler. Hitler represents such radical evil as to make it difficult for us even to utter his name.The title of this work is based on this awareness and unites it with a highly ambiguous moral gesture.
The dictator is represented kneeling in the act of pleading for forgiveness (from god perhaps ?). The dimensions of the figure are slightly reduced, as in other works representing stoic or artistic icons. Is forgiveness conceivable in the case of an icon of radical evil ? Cattelan seeks to arouse reactions of indignation through the public’s possible replies to this question.
The artist breaking into the temple of art through the museum floor.
Watch Maurizo Cattelan: Be Right Back
Watch also Featured artist: Zeng Fanzhi