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After more than 10 years of solo exhibitions around the world, Maurizio Cattelan comes back to Italy with Breath Ghosts Blind, an exhibition that will take place from the 15th of July 2021 to the 20th of February 2022 at Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan. 

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Maurizio Cattelan, born in Padua in 1960, during his career has staged actions that are often seen and interpreted as provocative and irreverent. His works highlight the paradoxes of society and reflect on political and cultural scenarios: using iconic images and sharp visual language, his works often provoke heated debates and foster a sense of collective participation. In producing works based on images that draw on moments, historical events, figures, or symbols of contemporary society, the artist invites the viewer to change its perspective and recognize the complexity and ambiguity of reality.

Breath Ghosts Blind had been conceived precisely for Pirelli Hangar Bicocca’s spaces and represent the sum of 30 years of works realized by the artist. Curated by Roberta Tenconi and Vicente Todolí, the exhibition will retrace the typical themes of Cattelan’s research, highlighting contradictions and shadows in contemporary society through an ironic, corrosive and goliardic language. It will host both historical and unpublished works that will be exhibited for the first time in the rooms of Pirelli HangarBicocca: there will be several different acts that will face themes such as the fragility of life, memory and the sense of both collective and individual loss. The artist described it as "a vision of collective and personal history through a symbolic representation of the cycle of life". Once again, then, Cattelan will invite us - or rather, provoke us - to change our point of view, highlighting that sharp fragment of the surreal, of paradox, which is latent in our daily lives, in the small and large events of personal and collective histories.


Maurizio Cattelan Getty Image.


This event will be crucial and largely positive for the art system because Cattelan is one of the personalities that are still capable to move a great audience and to attract the attention of the media worldwide. Milan is a city that has already been the setting of some of the most iconic and significant interventions made by the artist, such as L.O.V.E. (2010), in Piazza Affari, and Untitled (2004), in Piazza XXIV Maggio. On this new occasion, the city will be the place in which contemporary art will start exposing again to the public in Italy, after Covid-19 restrictions. 

Breath Ghosts Blind will be a follow-up to Cattelan's visionary reflections on the most disorienting aspects of everyday life. Cattelan's artistic and narrative strength allows him to boast an exceptional career, indeed his monographic exhibitions have been hosted by the most important international institutions: Blenheim Palace in 2019, Monnaie de Paris in 2016, Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2016 and before that in 2011, Fondation Beyeler in Basel in 2013. Cattelan has also taken part in major group exhibitions, including the Yokohama Triennial (2017 and 2001) and the Venice Biennale (2011, 2009, 2003, 2001, 1999, 1997 and 1993). His last exhibition in Milan was in 2010 at Palazzo Reale.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog published by Marsilio Editori which includes, among others, critical contributions by Francesco Bonami, Nancy Spector, Arnon Grunberg, Andrea Pinotti and Timothy Verdon. The monograph makes use of rich photographic documentation of the works installed, together with reflections on the themes raised in the exhibition, read through the eyes of philosophers, theologians and writers.

Maurizio Cattelan's exhibition will be on view in the aisles of Hangar Bicocca at the same time as Neïl Beloufa's Digital Mourning, extended until 9 January 2022 in the Shed space.


Cover image: BREATH GHOSTS BLIND. Courtesy Archivio Maurizio Cattelan.

Written by Caterina Ippolito

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