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Born 1960 – Italy
Maurizio Cattelan 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.
Cattelan takes inspiration from the Dadaist and Surrealist movements to create his biting and surreal satire, as evidenced in La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour (1999), where Pope John Paul II is struck down by a meteor, or in Not Afraid of Love (2000), where a life-sized elephant stands hidden in a white sheet, its curious eyes peering out from two cut holes. His
Cattelan’s work alludes to a sense of failure or shame through psychological projection, and has at times sparked controversy for their irreverence towards normally revered figures.
Cattelan originally worked as a furniture maker in Forlì before embarking on his art career. He went on to participate in the 1993, 1997, 1999, 2002, and 2011 Venice Biennales as well the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and was the subject of a 2011 retrospective titled “All” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, hanging a massive chandelier arrangement of his works from the center of the building’s famous rotunda. The artist lives and works between Milan, Italy and New York, NY.