Maurizio Cattelan biography




Maurizio Cattelan it's a Italian artist known for his artistic provocations that have made him the best known and most controversial of contemporary Italian artists. He was born in Padua in 1960 into a family that has no ties to the art world.

Since he was young he has been interested in radio engineering spending most of his time disassembling old objects such as radios and televisions and acquiring  skills in cutting and assembling various types of materials. This interest leads him to enroll at the Industrial Technical Institute.

After graduating, Maurizio Cattelan finds himself doing various types of work, from gardener to waiter, without ever abandoning his first passion, which is the creation of compositions. The photos of these works are sent to art galleries all over the world. When the Neon Gallery in Bologna agrees to exhibit one of his works, Maurizio Cattelan's life changes completely.

The artist's vision can only be understood if one takes into account his training which is essentially self-taught. Although the common opinion is convinced that to become a successful artist it is mandatory to follow a training course in prestigious schools and academies, Maurizio Cattelan has never shared this thought declaring several times, during some interviews, how much more decisive it is , from his point of view, develop the talents of listening and comparing, which enroll and attend schools that provide high costs.

Maurizio Cattelan's artistic career began in the early nineties with one of his first works, Stadium, That was exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art of Bologna. Stadium was a foosball table where flesh-and-blood players were placed at the ends. The whites were the reserves of the Cesena football team, the black people, on the other hand, the Senegalese workers who worked in the Veneto region.

Already from his debut, therefore, Maurizio Cattelan managed to arouse great amazement, attracting both feelings of admiration and indignation towards himself. The artist's works are a perfect marriage between sculpture and performance. The Paduan artist manages to make fun of the art world and its mechanisms. In fact, in addition to being an esteemed and world-renowned artist, Cattelan is also a great communicator able to take advantage of both negative publicity and the critics who point and accuse him.

In 2010 he created a project in collaboration with the photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, giving life to the magazine that takes the name of Toiletpaper

After taking a 5-year break between 2012 and 2017, he resumes his career and divides his time between Milan and New York. He is considered one of the highest paid artists alive. His works, in fact, have obtained a total value of about 86 million dollars.

Among his most representative works we mention Cattelan's horse. This work, although known to the general public as Cattelan's horse, is actually entitled twentieth century. The reference to director Bertolucci's film is clear and it is a work created in 1997 which essentially consists of a taxidermy horse tied to the ceiling using a particular leather harness. The posture and the neck of the animal convey to the viewer a sense of frustration, of little security. According to what the artist said about this work, the themes treated are very common in his works. It is therefore not an isolated case.

The Ninth Hour from 1999 is a sculpture that represents one of the most beloved popes in history, namely John Paul II, who appears stretched out and hit by a meteorite. Composed of various types of materials, this work refers to the financial and sexual scandals that the Church was going through at that time.

Comedian it is among the works that have caused the most uproar and consists of the famous banana glued to a wall with a piece of gray adhesive tape. The work was exhibited at the Perrotin gallery at Art Basel Miami Beach. The idea was born during his travels. In fact, Maurizio Cattelan was planning a sculpture that had the shape of a banana. To find the right inspiration, he hung a banana, which he always carried with him, in the various hotel rooms where he stayed. After making prototypes in different materials, the artist returned to the original idea: a real banana. The purpose of this work, which explicitly refers to pop art, is to induce people to reflect on the value of the work of art and on the value one gives to objects. Furthermore, Comedian was also the protagonist of a further event that involved her. Indeed, an American artist of contemporary art, David Datuna, detached the banana from the stand and, in front of many people present, ate the fruit, declaring that he considered Cattelan's work very tasty. 

The middle finger of Cattelan or LOVE acronym that stands for freedom, hate, revenge, eternity. It is one of the artist's most impressive creations. LOVE, in fact, is more than ten meters high and was built using tons of Carrara marble. The work was placed, in 2010, in the famous Piazza Affari in Milan which houses the Stock Exchange. It depicts a hand showing the fascist salute, but the erosion of time has left only the middle finger in evidence. The place of exposure has a precise meaning. Indeed, the Milan Stock Exchange is one of the symbols of fascist architecture.

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