About the artist

    Lives and works in New York City
    1960: Born in Padov

    Cattelan’s personal art practice has led to him gaining a reputation as an art scene’s joker. In 1995 he began his line of taxidermied horses, donkeys, mice and dogs; in 1999 he started making life-size wax effigies of various people, including himself. One of his best known sculptures, ‘La Nona Ora’ consists of an effigy of Pope John Paul IIin full ceremonial dress being crushed by a meteor and is a good example of his typically humorous approach to work. Another of Cattelan’s quirks is his use of a ‘stand-in’ in media interviews equipped with a stock of evasive answers and non-sensical explanations.

    Between 2005 and 2010 his work has largely centered on publishing and curating. Earlier projects in these fields have included the founding of “The Wrong Gallery”, a store window in New York City , in 2002 and its subsequent display within the collection of the Tate Modern from 2005 to 2007; collaborations on the publications Permanent Food, 1996–2007- with Dominique Gonzalez Foerster and Paola Manfrin- and the slightly satirical arts journal "Charley", 2002–present (the former an occasional journal comprising a pastiche of pages torn from other magazines, the latter a series on contemporary artists); and the curating of the Caribbean Biennial in 1999. Along with long-term collaborators Ali Subotnick and Massimiliano Gioni, Cattelan also curated the 2006 Berlin Biennale. He frequently submitted articles to international publications such as Flash Art.

    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.

    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"

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