Maurizio Cattelan is one of the contemporary art world’s
most rebellious artist’s, he has been making controversial artwork since the
1980’s, always trying to see how he can push the boundaries with shock humour.
As you can see with ‘Him’, He has a macabre way of getting his jokes across. His
work is provocative, purposely making these funny and offensive sculptures to
gain notoriety. I take interest in his practice not just because of my dark
sense of humour but because he is very skilful in his practice, the detail and
like-ness of the work really pulls the whole thing together and makes the ‘joke’
a triumph.  

A huge reason for Cattelan’s success is his ability to
shock, provoke and make fun. He’s managed to strike a chord with the people of
Milan in 2004 when his sculptures of three children hanging from a tree were
forcibly removed prematurely by an angered man with ladders and a shear. He
didn’t find the installation very humorous which immediately became a
political issue within the city. The incident exposed worries about Milan’s
reputation as a cultural magnet, as well striking a debate about censorship on contemporary
art in the public space. I’m sure this type of response from the public encourages
Cattelan to push the boundary further, it’s the type of reaction that gained
him a lot of publicity helping push his message. It’s not just the three
hanging children that made the piece so controversial, it was the tree in which
they chose to hang them from; the tree was planted in Piazza XXIV Maggio in 1924 to
honour the fatalities of World War I.

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“Unfitted (2004),
three wide-eyed, waxwork child suicides hanging from a tree in a Milanese
public square, we become implicated. Bad thoughts begin to roll in (‘why am I
entertained by this piece? Who are the victims of my everyday pleasures?’), and
the artist buys our blushing silence.” – Tom Morton, (2005), ‘Maurizio
Cattelan : Infinite Jester’

The artwork is crude and hard to digest but you can’t help
but be intrigued by something so grim. Cattelan manages to uncover the tensions
and hysteria of the contemporary world by revealing the tragedy in history just
like his sculpture of ‘Him’, Hitler looking like a child, or more recent in
history works of ‘La Nona Ora’ Pope John Paul II hit by a meteor. 

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