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About the Artist
Maurizio Cattelan was born in Padua, Italy in 1960. Based in Milan and New York,
Cattelan has exhibited his work widely throughout the 1990s. He has had one-person
shows in Europe and the U.S., including projects at Galeria Neon, Bologna (1990); Ars
Futura, Zurich (1996); Castello di Rivoli, Turin (1997), Wiener Secession, Vienna
(1997); Espace Jules Vergne, Centre d'Art de Britigny-sur-Orge, (1997), INOVA,
Milwaukee (1998), The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998); Kunsthalle Basel
(1999); and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2000). Cattelan represented Italy at the
1997 Venice Biennale, sharing the Italian Pavilion with Enzo Cucchi and Ettore Spalletti.
In addition, he has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including the Aperto 93,
Venice Biennial (1993); Kwangju Biennial (1995); SITE Santa Fe's Truce (1997);
Sculpture Project Munster (1997); Istanbul Biennial (1997); Manifesta (1998); and
dAPERTtutto, Venice Biennial (1999). In 1999, he organized the 6th Caribbean Biennial
in St. Kitts, British West Indies. His work is the subject of a monograph published by
Phaidon in 2000.
Cattelan's works blur the boundaries between art and entertainment, performance and
reality. Situationist humor is key to Cattelan's work, which provokes the viewer while
pushing the boundaries of the self-contained art world and the frame of the exhibition
space. His sculptures, installations, actions and performances critique the dominant
structures of cultural production, questioning the politics, hierarchies and class systems
that define contemporary life.
About the Installation
Maurizio Cattelan's ArtPace project inverts the format of the International Artist-in-
Residence Program. Rather than exhibiting his work in the gallery, the artist installed his
project in ArtPace's artist apartment. To see the work, then, the viewer must visit the
"private" zone of ArtPace's building. The West Flat?ully furnished, self-contained
apartment on the second floor?the site of Cattelan's installation. Inside the lived-in
apartment, distant sounds of squeaky chipmunk-like voices emanate. Upon closer
inspection the viewer finds a mouse hole discretely dug into the apartment wall. With
two miniature trashcans in front, the hole is sealed with an equally small door. The
sounds of a domestic fight, tempers flaring, are inside this tiny portal.
This tableaux relates to earlier works by Cattelan, particularly the emotionally
charged Bidibidobidiboo (1996) in which a taxidermy-squirrel appears to have
committed suicide. By reducing the human experience to a miniature scale, Cattelan
exaggerates the fragility of life. Cattelan's work balances a child-like innocence and
humor with violence or death.
In Cattelan's installation, the viewer searches for a world within a world, a domestic
narrative within a domestic environment, under the roof of a public space. Finding the
private conflict is unsettling even though it is presented in a comic manner. It is perhaps
too familiar, evoking early memories of discovering the difference between the real and
imaginary worlds. By dislocating the experience from the white cube of the gallery space
to family environs, Cattelan shifts the art experience from the public realm into the
personal. Yet at the same time, the private is made more public.
While on the surface Cattelan's works entertain, on closer consideration the tragic
condition of comedy unfolds. The artist reminds us that laughter heals? as escape but
as a release of our experiences.
Maurizio Cattelan was selected for his ArtPace residency by the March 1998 panel
consisting of Dan Cameron, Annette DiMeo Carlozzi, Amada Cruz, Kellie Jones, Hans-
Ulrich Obrist, and Nancy Rubins.
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