Maurizio Cattelan is an Italian hyperrealist ‘art worker’, now living and working in New York, USA. He is known for his satirical sculptures which manage to be simultaneously comical and serious. Cattelan is seen as the jester of the art world. This is exemplified in his first solo exhibition in 1989, where he closed the gallery and hung up a sign which read ‘be back soon’. In 1996, he was almost arrested for theft, as he planned to create a ‘readymade’ exhibition, using a collection of work from another artist under his own name. Whilst humorous, his works have an underlying critical nature, which make them unsettling and hard to forget.
His sculptures comment on societies contradictory values and abuse of authority. In 1991, Cattelan created Stadium, a soccer team made up of North African immigrants, a critique on the tensions in Italy over immigration.
His conceptual works also include: One Sunday Rivara (1992), a rope made from knotted bed sheets which was left hanging out an open window from a castle, and Working is a Bad Job, exhibited Venice Biennale in 1993, where he rented a space to an advertising agency who promoted perfume.
At the beginning of the twenty first century, he produced a series of life size wax work figures. They caused controversy due to their comments on history, religion and popular culture. These include The Ninth Hour, an image of the Pope being hit by a meteorite and Him, a young Hitler on his knees.