Maurizio Cattelan’s Macabre Sculptures

Born in Padua, Italy, in 1960 the artist Maurizio Cattelan is best known for his satirical and hyperrealistic sculptures. His source themes range widely from popular culture, history, and organized religion to a meditation on the self, characterized by humour and profoundness. Cattelan creates confusing veristic sculptures that reveal inconsistencies at the core of today’s society. His work is deadly serious in its scathing critique of authority and the abuse of power. Cattelan has openly thematized historical narratives and public figures. His art work “La Nona Ora” (1999) shows a wax replica of Pope John Paul II, slayed by a meteor and pinned to a red carpet. “Him” (2001) is a small simulation of Adolph Hitler, kneeling on the floor, represented as a prayer. In the more reverent and mournful piece titled “All” (2007), a series of marble sculptures, figured as dead bodies covered in sheets, are placed lined up on the gallery floor. Cattelan is seen by many art historians as one of Duchamp’s greatest contemporary successor, emulating morbidly humorous replicas on objects.

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All images © Maurizio Cattelan