False pretences

Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled (Denunzia), 1991

The idea of presenting an existing document as art – the essence of Keith Arnatt’s Notes from Jo – is something used in a very different way by Maurizio Cattelan. In this case the actual document is presented rather than a photograph; given that the document in question is a police report this seems like an important element of the work. This is a work that is all about the narrative it represents: in 1991, faced with not having produced the work for a forthcoming exhibition, Cattelan went to the police and reported the theft of an invisible artwork. He then presented the police report in the exhibition.

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Just lying there

Maurizio Cattelan, All, 2008

Though not a sight one would ever hope to see, a row of bodies covered in sheets is easy enough to understand. The first thing that feels wrong here is the solidity of the sheets; the row of figures are marble statuary rather than fabric covered human remains. This realisation gives the figures a new familiarity, one rooted in religious representation.

Take a closer look though and all is not as it seems…

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Past master

Maurizio Cattelan, Bidibidobidiboo, 1996

As a rule, I don’t have much time for taxidermy in art. Sometimes it works, but for me such instances are few and far between. But if anyone can get away with it, it’s Maurizio Cattelan; contrary to my own expectation, his use of taxidermy consistently wins me round.

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