Maurizio Cattelan

Maurizio Cattelan

Exhibition: Jun 8 – Jul 16, 2000


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—a fully furnished, self-contained apartment on the second floor—is 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 a miniature trashcan 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—not as escape but as a release of our experiences.

Artist

Maurizio Cattelan

Milan, Italy

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.

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Curators

Amada Cruz

Los Angeles, CA
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Kellie Jones

New York, NY
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Nancy Rubins

Topanga, California, USA

Born in 1952 in Naples, Texas, Californian Nancy Rubins received her MFA from the University of California, Davis. She has had numerous solo exhibitions, including shows at Paul Kasmin Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Venice Biennale Aperto. Rubins’ work was included in the 1995 Whitney Biennial and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ Helter Skelter exhibit in 1992. Rubins teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Art Department. She has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Tiffany Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Annette DiMeo Carlozzi

Austin, TX
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Dan Cameron

Newport Beach, California

From 2012 to 2015 he was Chief Curator at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California. In 2006, Dan Cameron founded the Biennial Prospect New Orleans, where he worked at until 2011. From 1995 to 2005 he was Senior Curator at the New Museum, New York, where he developed numerous group exhibitions, such as East Village USA and Living inside the Grid, and several individual shows dedicated to the artists Martin Wong, William Kentridge, Carolee Schneemann, Carroll Dunham, Doris Salcedo, José Antonio Hernández Diez, among others.
As independent curator he has organized many exhibitions that brought him international attention, such as El arte y su doble (Fundación Caixa, Madrid, 1987); El jardín salvaje (Fundación Caixa, Barcelona, 1991); Cocido y crudo (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 1995), among many others. In 2003, he was the Artistic Director of the 8th Istanbul Biennial, and in 2006, Co-curator of the 5th Taipei Biennial.
He has published hundreds of texts in books, catalogues and magazines, and has given numerous talks and conferences at museums and universities around the world, also carrying out an important teaching activity in New York.

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Hans Ulrich Obrist

London, England

Hans Ulrich-Obrist is the Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programs and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery in London, positions created for Ulrich-Obrist in April 2006. As a curator at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France since 2000, among many other exhibitions he organized solo shows with Jonas Mekas (2003), Anri Sala (2004), and Cerith Wyn Evans (2006). Before this position Ulrich-Obrist was an independent curator for a decade, organizing the group show Take Me I’m Yours at the Serpentine (1995) and Retrace Your Steps: Remember at the John Soane Museum (1999), also in London, England. Ulrich-Obrist was a panelist in 1998 for the 1999-2000 year of artists, and was invited to be a speaker at the 2003 symposium, but was unable to come due to illness.
Photo by Dominik Gigler

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