Maurizio Cattelan: The Last Judgment – Announcements
Adopting its title from the fresco by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, The last judgement is a focused look at the more than three-decade career of Maurizo Cattelan (b.1960, Padua, Italy) as one of the most popular and controversial artists in the contemporary art scene, taking a more rarefied approach to delivering the opportunity to take a break and reflect on the artist’s vision and the philosophy behind his production. The exhibition, the artist’s first solo exhibition in China, is curated by Francesco Bonami and curated by Liu Kaiyun, Edward Guan, Shi Yao, Anna Yang and Yvonne Lin.
Almost 30 installations, sculptures, performances and in situ works from across the artist’s career are on display in the open space of the UCCA Great Hall, including the artist’s first major work. Lessico Familiar (1989) and the famous Catttelan (1994), Bidibidobidiboo (1996), Novecento (1997), and Actor (2019), as well as a series of animal taxidermy works. Site specific work, such as Zhang San (2021), a sculpture dressed as a homeless man in Beijing, and a performance based on the figure of Picasso which also alludes to the 2019 UCCA exhibition Picasso – Birth of a genius– during this exhibition, invites spectators to participate in Cattelan’s artistic exploits in the contradictions of contemporary society, as well as his questioning of the culture and stereotypes of his birthplace, the mores of the globalized society of today and the contexts surrounding these reflections.
The works drawn from the artist’s biography, his identity as an artist and his ostensibly egocentric personality paradoxically open up to a multitude of identities and questions confronting the motives of death and mortality, in particularly that of the artist: the kneeling figure with a paper bag on his head in No (2021) pronouncing the condition of unknown fate; a serious moment in Untitled (1997) in the form of a pile of soil and a hole in the ground the size of the artist’s body; the act of closing in Mother (2021), repeated here as a mural based on a photograph from the original performance from 1999.
Other works mock and pay homage to both pop culture references and symbolic figures in Italian art history, as in Lucio Fontana’s torn canvas in Untitled (1999) and the shrunken and miniature Sistine Chapel and its frescoes in Untitled (2018). The manipulation of the ladder finds an echo in works reflecting his artistic philosophy, such as the small but functional elevators of Untitled (2001). Work is bad work (1993), the artist’s irreverent solution to the work and struggle of artistic creation returns here in a billboard intended to be rented out for commercial advertising.
As befits the unconventional artistic practice of Maurizio Cattelan, on the occasion of The last judgement, UCCA publishes a unique catalog: Instead of photographs of the works of art, original paintings by illustrator Wang Buke move the pieces to places around Beijing. The catalog contains a preface by UCCA director Philip Tinari, a conversation between the artist and Francesco Bonami, and an essay by associate professor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts Zhang Chen, as well as numerous annotations on each work. of art on display. The catalog is published by Zhejiang Photography Press and designed by 26 Studio (Yang Shaozhun and Leng Jing).