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Maurizio Cattelan

Biography

(b Padua, Italy, 1960) Italian conceptual artist. Since the beginning of the 1990s Cattelan has created an extraordinary body of work, in a variety of different media, that has been exhibited widely and internationally, often to critical acclaim and, sometimes, provoking heated responses. Cattelan's oeuvre operates on many different levels, offering his viewer symbols whose representations both elucidate and problematize systems of related meaning. As such, Cattelan's art does not take a precise stand, be that moral, social or ideological. If anything, he embraces a systematic ambiguity that coolly challenges the boundaries of contemporary value systems, but never attempts to subvert them. His works are not Dadaist monuments to modern socio-economic revolution; rather, he presents us all with objects that have undergone a slight shift of reality that, ultimately, makes them a little pathetic and asinine. These small intellectual and paradigmatic shifts are very subtle and sophisticated, yet carry more weight; they are a little darker and much more profound in this reduced, anti-grandiose manner. As with all of Cattelan's work, you don't get the joke, until the joke gets you. (Credit: Sotheby’s, New York, Contemporary Part One, May 12, 2004, lot 12)

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