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Maurizio Cattelan

Italy 1960


Maurizio Cattelan
Maurizio Cattelan
November 21, 2016
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via his Linkedin profile:

Playing the role of the art world’s resident jokester for the last two and a half decades, Maurizio Cattelan is a contemporary Italian artist who has been amusing and horrifying viewers for the entirety of his career. Appreciated equally for both his dark humor and his vivid sculptures, Cattelan frequently depicts celebrities, political individuals, figures from art history and animals in comically absurd scenes with deep meanings. Also a prolific curator and a talented writer outside of his artistic practices[1], Maurizio Cattelan’s mix of humor and realism is matched by no other author out there. Finding inspiration in the notions of Dadaism and Surrealism, his concepts and ideas are so impressive that many experts believe this artist is one of Duchamp’s greatest contemporary heirs.

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Maurizio Cattelan – Untitled, 2002 – Image via

The Path to Success

Initially, Maurizio Cattelan started his career in the 1980s when he was making wooden furniture in Forlì, a city in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy. During this time, Cattelan met some very talented designers who helped him set up his artistic manner and basis of his future artworks. One of these individuals was Ettore Sottsass, an Italian architect and designer. Eventually, Maurizio was given an opportunity to break into the scene of design and contemporary art when he optimistically sent out a catalog of his works to local galleries. Back then, Cattelan created a sculpture of an ostrich with its head buried deeply in the ground and wearing a costume of a figurine with a giant head of Picasso on it. The Italian galleries were fascinated by his creation and were lining up to get a chance at displaying Maurizio’s pieces regardless of the author’s demands and requirements. During this period which proved to be Maurizio’s climb to the top, he also created the Oblomov Foundation – an engraved glass artwork which further catapulted the Italian artist to the elite of his country. Since the time of his emergence, Maurizio Cattelan has been establishing himself as an art scene’s joker who lacked any sort of compromise and had no trouble conveying any message he desired. All were fascinated with the ability this artist presented – Jonathan P. Binstock, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, described the early Cattelan as ”one of the great post-Duchampian artists and a smartass, too”. This was in part due to this author’s ability to utilize media in order to expose reality as well as blur the lines between fact and myth[2].

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Maurizio Cattelan – Ave Maria, 2007 – Image via

Incorporating Taxidermy and Exploring Boundaries

Since his climb to the very top, Cattelan established a style which oftentimes utilized taxidermy, a practice that flourished during the mid-1990s. This method of art-making demands that one connects humans and animals through the projections of human emotions which the former places on the latter[3]. One such piece is Novecento (1997), an artwork which involves a horse named Tiramisu which alludes to a sense of hopelessness and desperation. A similar example of taxidermy is Bidibidobidiboo (1996) – for this piece, Maurizio created a miniature depiction of a squirrel slumped over its kitchen table with a revolver at its feet. Not Afraid of Love (2000) may also serve as a fine indicator of how Cattelan uses taxidermy. In 1999, the Italian author started making life-size wax models of various people, himself included. A definite highlight of such pieces, although a bit controversial one, is La Nona Ora. This composition presented the museum viewers with an effigy of Pope John Paul II in a full ceremonial dress – being crushed by a meteor!

As he matured both as a persona and as an author, Maurizio Cattelan turned more towards publishing and curating, spending most of his time between 2005 and 2010 doing exactly that. However, Cattelan’s visual arts remain this artist’s greatest contribution to the scenes around the world. All of his works make fun of various systems of order, including smaller aspects such as social niceties and much larger notions such as the main concepts of religion and faith[4]. His themes and motifs are carefully chosen so they are able to convey the message in a best possible way, often leading to dark humor situations which are now considered to be the tip of Cattelan’s creative spear. Ultimately, Maurizio aims to highlight the bizarre nature of the world and our interventions within it no matter where they may lie. In such attempts, no method nor motif is off the table. Cattelan’s artworks were awarded on numerous times during the author’s career[5], with the gold medal granted by the 15th Rome Quadriennale serving as a crown achievement so far.

Maurizio Cattelan has a unique visual vocabulary that mixes dark humor and realism, presenting the audiences with characteristic and multi-layered results

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Maurizio Cattelan – Kaputt, 2013 – Image via

Appreciating the Uniqueness of Maurizio Cattelan

Enacting morbidly humorous transformations on objects and figures, there are not many artists out there capable of delivering such a unique artistic punch to the audiences. Cattelan’s biting and surreal satire is one of the most characteristic visual vocabularies found in the contemporary scene. The way Maurizio is able to manipulate our emotions is unmatched by any other author as no one is able to make us wonder, laugh and be frighten at the same time as Cattelan’s art is. This alone should be enough to cement this author’s name in the art history of Italy, making Maurizio one of the key authors of this nation’s contemporary scene.

This artist is represented by Galerie Perrotin New York, Galerie Perrotin Hong Kong, Gagosian Park & 75 New York, Galerie Perrotin – Turenne Paris, Gagosian West 24th Street New York, Gagosian Beverly Hills, Gagosian Britannia Street London, Massimo De Carlo Milan, Massimo De Carlo London, Me Collectors Room Berlin,, Gagosian West 21st Street New York

Maurizio Cattelan lives and works in Milan, Italy and New York City, United States.


  1. Verzotti, G., Maurizio Cattelan, Charta; Revised edition, 2000
  2. Corbetta, C., Maurizio Has Left the Building, Le Dictateur Press; Box edition, 2012
  3. Spector, N., Maurizio Cattelan: All, Guggenheim Museum Publications; 1st edition, 2011
  4. Sirmans, F., Maurizio Cattelan: Is There Life Before Death?, The Menil Collection, 2010
  5. Cattelan, M., Maurizio Cattelan Is Dead: Life and Work, 1960-2009, Triple Candie, 2013

Featured image: Maurizio Cattelan – Photo of the author – Image via
All images used for illustrative purposes only.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2017Museum Revisited - 1996-2016Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, ZürichGroup
2017Dancing with Myself - Selbstporträt und Selbsterfindung Werke aus der Sammlung PinaultMuseum Folkwang, EssenGroup
2016Murizio Cattelan- AmericaSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NYSolo
2016AnimalityMarian Goodman Gallery - London, LondonGroup
2014Maurizio Cattelan - Cosa NostraVenus Over Manhattan, New York, NYSolo
2014Maurizio Cattelan - Colección Sanderetto de RebaudengoCAC Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga, MálagaSolo
2014Maurizio Cattelan Galerie Vedovi, BrüsselSolo
2013Maurizio CattelanFondation Beyeler, RiehenSolo
2012AllGuggenheim Museum, New YorkGroup
2012Maurizio Cattelan Amen Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, WarschauSolo
2012Maurizio Cattelan Whitechapel Art Gallery, LondonSolo
2012Maurizio Cattelande Appel Boys' School, AmsterdamSolo
2011Maurizio Cattelan - All Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NYSolo
2011Maurizio Cattelan // Mini MeKunstTachometer PALMA DE MALLORCA, Palma de MallorcaSolo
2010Maurizio CattelanGalleria Six, MailandSolo
2010Maurizio Cattelan: We DESTE Project Space Slaughterhouse Hydra, HydraSolo
2010Maurizio Cattelan Palazzo Reale, MailandSolo
2010Maurizio Cattelan The Menil Collection, Houston, TXSolo
2009Maurizio Cattelan is Dead: Life and Work, 1960 - 2009C/O Traco Industrial Corporation, New York, NYSolo
2008Maurizio CattelanKunsthaus Bregenz, BregenzGroup
2008Maurizio CattelanSynagoge Stommeln, Pulheim-StommelnSolo
2008Die / Die More / Die Better / Die Again Florence Loewy, ParisSolo
2008Maurizio Cattelan Kunsthaus Bregenz, BregenzSolo
2007Maurizio CattelanMuseum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt e Portikus, Frankfurtsolo
2007Maurizio CattelanPortikus, Frankfurtsolo
2007Freakshow- An Unatural HistoryBaltic Center, UKGroup
2007Camera con vistaPalazzo Reale, MilanoGroup
2007Ironia Domestica. Uno sguardo curioso tra collezioni private italianeMuseion Museo d’Arte Moderna eContemporanea, BolzanoGroup
2007Still Life & KickingPaula Cooper Gallery, New YorkGroup
2007Italian MentalscapesTel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel AvivGroup
2006Infinite Painting. Pittura Contemporanea e Realismo GlobaleVilla Manin Centro d’Arte Contemporanea, PassarianoGroup
2006Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist’s EyeMART Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, RoveretoGroup
2006WrongGalerie Klosterfelde, BerlinGroup
2006Eretica. Trascendenza e profano nell’arte contemporaneaCivica Galleria d’Arte Moderna, PalermoGroup
2006Where Are We Going?Palazzo Grassi, VeneziaGroup
2005Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist’s EyeMCA Museum of Contemporary Art, ChicagoGroup
2005Three Exhibition, DionysiacCentre Georges Pompidou, ParisGroup
2005Superstars. The Celebrity Factor. From Warhol to MadonnaKunsthalle, ViennaGroup
2005The Art of ChessLuhring Augustine, New YorkGroup
2005War is OverGAMeC Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, BergamoGroup
2005A Brief History of Invisible ArtCCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San FranciscoGroup
2004Maurizio CattelanLa fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Piazza XXIV Maggio, MilanSolo
2004Maurizio CattelanMusée du Louvre, ParisSolo
2004NowMusée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, ParisSolo
2004Maurizio CattelanGalleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea Trento, TrentoSolo
2004Maurizio CattelanInstitute of Visual Art, LondonGroup
2004State of PlaySerpentine Gallery, LondonGroup
2004Reflecting the MirrorGalerie Marian Goodman, New YorkGroup
2004Memory and LandscapeLa Casa Encendida, MadridGroup
2003Maurizio CattelanMuseum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los AngelesSolo
2003Maurizio CattelanLudwig Museum, CologneSolo
2003Maurizio CattelanDeste Foundation for Contemporary Art, AthènesSolo
2003Sogni e conflitti - La dittatura dello spettore50° Biennale di Venezia, VeniceGroup
2003The Art of ChessGilbert Collection, LondresGroup
2003PartnersHaus der Kunst, MunichGroup
2003Europe ExistsMacedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, ThessalonikiGroup
2003Moving energy #02Museum Folkwang Essen, EssenGroup
2002Maurizio CattelanGalerie Marian Goodman, New YorkSolo
2002L'art d'aujourd'hui: un choix dans la collection du Fonds national d'art contemporainMusée de Grenoble, GrenobleGroup
2002Out of sensesMuseum Boymans-Van Beuningen, RotterdamGroup
2002De GustibusPalazzo delle Papesse, SienaGroup
2002From the ObservatoryPaula Cooper Gallery, New YorkGroup
2002PhotographierMusée d'Art Contemporain, AvignonGroup
2002WallflowersKunsthaus Zurich, ZurichGroup
2002Hollywood is a verbGagosian Gallery, LondonGroup
2001Maurizio CattelanFärgfabriken StockholmSolo
2001Maurizio CattelanMCA, Museum of Contemporary Art, ChicagoSolo
2001Maurizio CattelanCastello di Rivoli, TurinSolo
2001HollywoodGalerie Emmanuel Perrotin, ParisGroup
2001Places in the Mind: Modern Photographs from the CollectionThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkGroup
2000Maurizio CattelanMigros, ZurichSolo
2000Maurizio CattelanCCA, KitakyushuSolo
2000Maurizio CattelanArtspace, San AntonioSolo
2000ForumCentre Georges Pompidou, ParisSolo
2000Maurizio CattelanMarian Goodman Gallery, New YorkSolo
2000Maurizio CattelanZacheta Gallery, VarsawGroup
2000Let's EntertainWalker Art Center, MinneapolisGroup
2000Présumés innocents - l'art contemporain et l'enfanceCAPC Musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux, BordeauxGroup
2000Home is where the Art isMuseum Van Loon, AmsterdamGroup
2000ApocalypseRoyal Academy of Arts, LondonGroup
1999Maurizio CattelanAnthony D'Offay, LondonSolo
1999Maurizio CattelanKunsthalle, BaselSolo
1999L'ArbreForum du Centre Georges Pompidou, ParisSolo
1999Aperto over all48th Biennale de Venise, ItalyGroup
1999Signs of LifeInternational Biennale of Melbourne, Australia.Group
1999AbracadabraTate Gallery, London.Group
1999Let's get lostSaint Martin College, LondonGroup
1999Dehors-DedansCAPC Musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux, BordeauxGroup
1999La casa, il corpo, il cuoreMuseum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, VienneGroup
1999La Ville, le Jardin, la MémoireAcadémie de France à Rome, Villa Médicis, RomeGroup
1999Tales of the tipFundamental Foundation, BredaGroup
1998InovaUWV Art Museum, MilwaukeeSolo
1998Project RoomThe Museum of Modern Art, New YorkSolo
1998ArtificialMACBA, BarceloneGroup
1998WoundsModerna Museet, StockholmGroup
1998IronicMuseum für Gegenwartskunst, ZürichGroup
1998Manifesta 2Biennale Européenne d'Art Contemporain, LuxembourgGroup
1997Espace Jules VerneCentre d'Art de Brétigny-sur-OrgeSolo
1997Maurizio CattelanLe Consortium, DijonSolo
1997Moi-même-Soi-mêmeGalerie Emmanuel Perrotin, ParisSolo
1997Maurizio CattelanGalerie Massimo Minini, Brademia di Brera, MilanoSolo
1997DeltaMusée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, ParisGroup
1997UntitledFargfabriken, StockholmGroup
1997UntitledArt Call, CopenhagueGroup
1997UntitledLight Slow, Galleria Massimo De Carlo, MilanGroup
1997TransitENSBA, ParisGroup
1997Connexion impliciteENSBA, ParisGroup
1997Skulpture ProjectLandesmuseum, MunsterGroup
1997Summer showGalerie Marian Goodman, New YorkGroup
1997Fatto in ItaliaCentre d'Art Contemporain de GenèveGroup
1996Ars FuturaGalerie Nicola Von Senger, ZurichGroup
1996UntitledLaure Genillard Gallery, LondonGroup
1996UntitledGalleria Massimo De Carlo, MilanGroup
1996Triple AxelLe Gymnase, RoubaixGroup
1996Le MagasinCentre d'Art Contemporain de Grenoble, FranceGroup
1996BeigeSaga Basament, CopenhagueGroup
1996a-driftCenter for Contemporary Studios, Bard College, New YorkGroup
1996Campo 6, il villaggio a spiraleGalleria Civica, TurinGroup
1996Ultime GenerazioniQuadriennale d'Arte di Roma, RomeGroup
1996InterpolFargfabriken, StockholmGroup
1996Almost InvisibleEhemaliges Umspannwerk, SingenGroup
1996L'art au corpsMAC, MarseilleGroup
1996Crap shootDe Appel, AmsterdamGroup
1996Cabines de bainPiscine de La Motta, FribourgGroup
1996Departure LoungeClock Tower Gallery, New YorkGroup
1996Fool's RainICA, LondonGroup
1995Errotin, le vrai lapinGalerie Emannuel Perrotin, ParisSolo
1995PhotomontageLe Consortium, DijonGroup
1995CaravanserraglioEx Aurum, PescaraGroup
1995Le Labyrinthe MoralLe Consortium, DijonGroup
1994Maurizio CattelanGalerie Analix, GenèveSolo
1994Maurizio CattelanGalerie Daniel Buchholz, CologneSolo
1994Maurizio CattelanDaniel Newburg Gallery, New YorkSolo
1994Maurizio CattelanLaure Genillard Gallery, LondonSolo
1994Incertaine IdentitéGalerie Analix, GenèveGroup
1994Rien à signalerGalerie Analix, GenèveGroup
1994Sogetto SogettoCastello di Rivoli, TurinGroup
1994Prima LineaFlash Art Museum, TreviGroup
1994L'Hiver de l'amourARC, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, ParisGroup
1993UntitledGalerie Massimo De Carlo, MilanGroup
1993UntitledGalerie Raucci Santamaria, NaplesGroup
1993MauriziDepot, BologneGroup
1993L'Arca di NoeFlash Art Museum, TreviGroup
1993Chambre 763Hôtel Carlton Palace, ParisGroup
1993DocumentarioSpazio Opos, MilanGroup
1993NachtschattengewächseMusée Fridericianum, KasselGroup
1993Aperto 93Biennale de Venise, VeniseGroup
1992Edizioni dell'ObbligoJuliet, TriesteGroup
1992Twenty Fragile PiecesGalerie Analix, GenèveGroup
1992OttovolanteMusée d'Art Contemporain, BergamoGroup
1992Rassegna piccoli editoriCastello di Belgioioso, BelgioiosoGroup
1991Stand abusivoArte Fiera Bologna, BolognaGroup
1991LoroCastello Visconteo, TrezzoGroup
1991BriefingGalerie Inga Pin, MilanGroup
1991Anni 90Galerie d'Art Moderne, BologneGroup
1991OperazioneS. Giustino, MilanGroup
1991MedialismoGalerie Vitolo, RomeGroup
1990Existenz MaximumInstituto degli innocenti, FlorenceGroup
1990Improvvisazione liberaMuseo Pecci, PratoGroup
1990Ipotesi d'arte giovaneFaqbbrica del vapore, MilanGroup