TitleIf a Tree Falls in the Forrest and There is No One Around it, Does It Make a Sound?

Maurizio Cattelan is an contemporary Italian artist most kown for his controversial, yet humorous, art piece La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour) depicting a scuplture of the Pope John Paul II being hit down by a meteorite from the sky. Other sculptures of his include, Par Peur de l'Amour (By Fear of Love), a sculpture of an elephant in a Ku Klux Klan uniform.

Cattelan is provocative, yes, and he goes on challenging the conventions of art without taking his own work too seriously. A good example of this is the quasi-gallery he opened in 2002 in Chelsea, New York (in joined forces with artists Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick) which by concept was never open to visitors, going against the mere idea of an art gallery. Visitors would instead be met with a sign simply saying; "Fuck off, we're closed." In fact The Wrong Gallery (which needless to say was competely non-commercial) never was more than its glass door and and two and half square feet of floor space. During it's 3 year old-run numerous exhibitions were hosted on this space of the work of artists like Paul McCarthy that visitors would catch a glimpse of by peering through the glass door. In 2005 a full-scale mock version of the Wrong Gallery opened at Tate Modern in London.

Cattelan is also known as a parasiting artist, who will use other people to execute his basic ideas and work. Cattelan himself will claim not to do too much during the process of an art piece and says about his effort: "It only takes a minute to have the idea." Cattelan's disinterest in journalists has also led to his on occasion sending other people to give interviews in his name claiming to be him.

Cattelan is also the co-creator of Permanent Food which could be described as a sort of meta-magazine consisting of  pages of other magzines from all around the world (sometimes taken without permission and collected by a various number of people) resulting in a scrapbook feeling publication. It is a non-profitable project executed without offices by Cattelan and editing partner Domnique Gonzales-Forester. Additionly there is now also Permament Family, described as a photo album about photo albums with contributions made from family photo albums from near and far.

Recently I was lucky to catch one of Cattelan's installations with a friend while in Brussels at the contemporary Bozar (word play of Beaux arts) musuem. Not wanting to get infected by the descriptive words of the curator, I'm still trying to figure out what Cattelan's intentions were.

On his line of work Cattelan says: "Hunting for freedom, I've found the real prison. but at least it's a prison I've chosen for myself."


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