Friday, 30 October 2009


Yesterday Maurizio Cattelan was brought to my attention. I had seen his images prior to the set reading and following lecture, but had never really questioned his motives, his work and their functions within the art world. The image that sticks out in my mind, probably due to it being all over my art history corridor, is-

It was his deliberate attempt to bring attention to the fact that the art and its huge prestigious institution, with its acquisition of immovable High Art morals, is actually no more than a surreptitious commercial drain on the ever willing subservient public. Atop of one of his cronies sits the exaggerated head of Picasso, the artist considered the founder of contemporary art. Here he stands outside MoMA- the worlds most prolific Academy like an imitation Disney character. This serves to make fun at the seriousness and the apparent facade of the arts world, to make a mockery at our pretence and subvert our gaze from the pretension; if only for a moment.

And by this I do not mean to poke my own disdain upon the arts world, on the contrary I am completely driven immerse myself within its perimeters, and it is my focus and utter passion in my life, but I mean to make it apparent to take from it what you will, and to enjoy and be enlightened by it, not sucked in and spat out. Its like anything, become tunnel-visioned and you lose the fun, your deceived by critical importance and the entertainment is displaced. This is what I believe to be the motivation behind the whole construct of his work.

His work is all about play. The constant questioning about meaning, purpose, function its all irrelevant. He makes art because that is his 'job' he wants to create something that is jovial, he pushes the boundaries of what is allowed. His inevitable disappointment but lingering fascination insues however as it seems he can get away with anything. It is the credulous public, gallery assistants and other peple who work for him, who show niave willingless to partake in any demeaning task that the artist requires of them. His focus is on pushing the limits of what will be accepted within the art society, but so far has had no obstruction with even his most bizarre of concepts. It makes a mockery of the whole valued system and critique. He once had an exhibiton where he came up against an artistic block, and found himself stuck for anything to produce; so he simply went to a gallery stole another artists work, boxed it all up and labled it 'Another Fucking Ready-Made.' Not only was the exhibit a successs but the victim of this obnoxious, but undoubtably clever robbery did not seem to mind either.

What does it take to piss people off when you are that reknowned? Has he reached the point where now the whole ethos of his work is unsucessful because people do not react in the way he wants? Or maybe this is what he wants, maybe he wants to exploit peoples behaviour.


1 comment:

Luca said...

very very witty!! well done. i like cattelan , i like art when it has a strong effect. i like soft things as well but with cattelan (btw he s from italy) it s always something shocking!
PS: i ll read it properly one day and i ll leave u a more intelligent comment, my mind is off now.