Maurizio Cattelan - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, May 9, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galleria Massimo de Carlo, Milan

  • Exhibited

    Annandale-on-Hudson, Bard College, Center for Curatorial Studies, a/drift, October 20, 1996 -January 5, 1997 (another example exhibited)
    New York, Cheim & Read, I Am the Walrus, June 10 – July 31, 2004 (another example exhibited)
    New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Maurizio Cattelan: All, November 4, 2011 - January 22, 2012 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    J. Decter, a/drift, Bard College, Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, 1996, p. 28 (another example illustrated)
    J. Rian, “Maurizio Cattelan...went home”, in Flash Art, no.190, Milan, October 1996, p.81 (another example illustrated)
    R. Daolio and G. Celant, Maurizio Cattelan, Centre d’art de Brétigny-sur-Orge, Brétigny-sur- Orge, Le Consortium, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, 1998 (another example illustrated on the cover)
    F. Bonami, N. Spector and B. Vanderlinden, Maurizio Cattelan, London, 2000, p.124 (another example illustrated)
    B. Genies, “Maurizio Cattelan- Vampire du reel”, in Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, August 2001 (another example illustrated)
    M.C. Beaud, Purple no. 12 - Maurizio Cattelan, Paris, 2002 (another example illustrated on the cover)
    F. Bonami, N. Spector, B. Vanderlinden and M. Gioni, Maurizio Cattelan, London, 2003, p.124 (another example illustrated)
    F. Bonami, “The Three Qattelan,” in Cattelan, Vol. 2, Paris, 2010, p. 23 (another example illustrated)
    N. Spector, Maurizio Cattelan: All, New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2011, p. 203 (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Untitled, 1995, is arguably the most iconic photographic self-portrait the artist has produced. The earliest example, Lassico familiare (Family Syntax), 1989, depicts a signed image of the half-naked artist, his hands positioned on his chest in the shape of a heart. Unlike this serene and romantic image, the present lot, Untitled, 1995, portrays the artist’s roguish persona, turned on his back, tongue extended, and limbs raised as if begging for a treat like a hungry dog. It is a playful photograph, depicting the artist in an all-black simple outfit, white socks, and sneakers, set against a white background. The credulous pose and monochrome backdrop seem to be the directions and settings of a contrived photo shoot; the artist’s child-like naughty behavior perhaps a reaction to the clichéd setting forced upon him by a rancorous and strident parent. The angle of the camera subtly distorts his body, emphasizing his enormous head and animated grimace, while diminishing his lower body, making him seem even more like a pleading canine. Unlike the rich and ornate self-portraits by artists throughout the art historical canon, Cattelan challenges the tradition by rendering himself suppliant, submissive, and even emasculated.

    In Untitled, 1995, Cattelan is both creator and subject, acting as the role of artist and sitter in this portrait session. Here, Cattelan portrays himself as a jester, rolling on the floor, assuming the role of a dog or a misbehaved child. He is eager to please in a pose often associated with the instruction to “play dead” or “roll over,” presaging the series he began in 1997 based on dogs: some taxidermied to appear asleep, other skeletal and carrying newspapers in their teeth. Like a canine, Cattelan depicts himself as a loyal companion, awaiting his master’s command. This game of make-believe, initiated by Cattelan himself, is characteristic of his now-solidified reputation as a provocateur, prankster, and tragic poet of our time, offering a glimpse into the unsettling and fantastic works which comprise the artist’s celebrate oeuvre. “What I’m really interest in is the notion of complexity, the idea that there are no fixed roles and definitions. Everyone is forced to change roles every single moment of his life…No one should be able to tell if it’s an artwork or a critical and curatorial statement.” (Maurizio Cattelan in “Interview: Blown Away-Blown to Pieces,” conversation between Cattelan, Hoffmann, and Massimiliano Gioni, in Cattelan, 6th Caribbean Biennial, unpaginated).

Ο31

Untitled

1995
gelatin silver print, mounted on aluminum
49 1/4 x 74 3/4 in. (125.1 x 189.9 cm)
This work is number two from an edition of three and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

Estimate
$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for $506,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

10 May 2012
New York