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Maurizio Cattelan

Artist 232 Maurizio Cattelan Conceptual art

Maurizio Cattelan (born 1960) is a contemporary Italian Conceptual artist. Known equally for his dark humor as for his realistic sculpture, he frequently depicts celebrities, art historical figures, or taxidermied animals in comically absurd scenes. These hyperrealistic sculptures and installations form core of Cattelan's practice and he also curates and publishes.

Maurizio Cattelan is one of the most controversial artists on the contemporary art scene. Taking freely from the real world of people and objects, his works are an irreverent operation aimed at both art and institutions. His playful and provocative use of materials, objects, and gestures set in challenging contexts forces commentary and engagement. His satirical approach to art has resulted in him being frequently labelled as a joker or prankster of the art world. Self-taught as an artist, Cattelan has exhibited internationally in museums and Biennials.

Some of Cattelan's better-known works include America, consisting of a solid gold toilet; La Nona Ora, a sculpture depicting a fallen Pope who has been hit by a meteorite; and Comedian, a fresh banana duct-taped to a wall. Humour and satire are at the core of Cattelan's work; this approach has often seen him labelled variously as an art scene joker, jester or prankster.

He has been described by Jonathan P. Binstock, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art "as one of the great post-Duchampian artists and a smartass, too". Discussing the topic of originality Cattelan explains, "Originality doesn't exist by itself. It is an evolution of what is produced. ... Originality is about your capacity to add.

His work was often based on simple puns or subverts clichéd situations by, for example, substituting animals for people in sculptural tableaux. “I was a loser, most concerned with making a living. It took me 30 years to understand... I had to reinvent a system, find a way out, and set some rules that could work for me and a few others. I guess in the end that's what we all are trying to do.” - Maurizio Cattelan

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