(September 21, 1960, Padova, Italy) is an Italian artist based in New York.
He did not attend art school but taught himself. He worked as a cook, gardener, nurse and mortuary attendant, before turning to making art with the hope that the art world might offer him ‘better treatment’. He began his creative adventures by making furniture for his apartment - ‘functional furniture with art meaning’.
His art often combines sculpture and performance. Cattelan has a subtle sense of the paradoxes of transgression, the limits of tolerance. Since the early 1990s, his work has provoked and challenged the limits of contemporary value systems through its use of irony and humor. He teases the art world without ever falling into the naive trap of thinking he can subvert a system of which he is part. The characters and personas inhabiting maurizio cattelan’s world are ghostly appearances in a personal theatre of the absurd: policemen flipped upside down, stuffed animals hanging from the ceiling, a swami who buried himself in sand for hours at a time ... suspended between reality and fiction, Maurizio Cattelan’swork simulates and subverts the rules of culture and society in a continuous game of detournement, acts of insubordination and symbolical theft. Constantly exploring different materials, contexts and strategies, he refuses to take any moral or ideological position, concentrating instead on reproducing reality in all its complexities. while he does not offer solutions, he shows that one can survive and use the system without being consumed by it.