The Whitechapel Gallery is mounting rarely seen works of art from the Collection Sandretto Re Rebaudengo – opening with a display dedicated to the works of Maurizio Cattelan on 25 September 2012.
Maurizio Cattelan was born in Padua, Italy, in 1960. He has exhibited at Skulptur Projekte, Münster (1997), the Tate Gallery (1999), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2003), and participated in the Venice Biennale (1993, 1997, 1999 and 2002). He received an honorary degree in Sociology from the University of Trento, Italy, in 2004, and was also awarded the Arnold-Bode prize from the Kunstverein Kassel, Germany, the same year. He lives and works in New York and Milan.
Since the 1990s Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo has collected contemporary art. One of the most important private collections in Europe, it includes leading international artists such as Doug Aitken, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Thomas Demand, Damien Hirst, Paul McCarthy, Reinhard Mucha, Sarah Lucas, Paola Pivi, Anish Kapoor and Mike Kelley. A series of four displays at the Whitechapel Gallery over one year will show highlights from the collection and draw on its themes.
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan is often known as the art world’s joker, using what seem to be stunts to address universal themes including power, death and authority. His memorable sculptures include Pope John Paul II struck down by a meteorite, his staging an exhibition of a ‘back soon’ sign on the door of an empty gallery or reporting a robbery of an ‘invisible exhibition’ to Italian police. His work often blurs the line between art and reality to provoke reaction.
The Whitechapel Gallery now displays works by Maurizio Cattelan – many not seen in the UK for over 20 years – in the first display from the Collection Sandretto Re Rebaudengo from 25 September – 2 December 2012. The display offers an opportunity to see some of Cattelan’s intimate earlier works. The Whitechapel Gallery Collections programme is supported by specialist art insurer Hiscox.
Highlights include a sculptural installation featuring a stuffed squirrel which has shot itself at the kitchen table, titled Bidibidobidiboo (1996). Titled after the fairy godmother’s song in Cindarella, it caricatures the idea of childhood innocence. In another sculpture the emblem of the 1970s terrorist group Brigate Rosse is turned into a neon Christmas greeting by Cattelan, while in Il Bel Paese(1995) a cheese naming Italy as ‘a beautiful country’ becomes a rug on which to walk. The idea of art potentially reforming society becomes the butt of Cattelan’s joke, when he makes an effigy of himself dressed in iconic artist Joseph Beuys trademark grey felt suit, hanging by the neck from a clothes rack.
The presentation of the collection of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo is part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s ongoing programme of opening up collections that are rarely seen by the public in the UK. The Collection now has over 1,000 works of art made by both internationally acclaimed and emerging artists over the last 30 years. Key works in the Collection include Damien Hirst’s The Acquired Inability to Escape, Inverted and Divided (1993), Love Me (1998) by Sarah Lucas, Bang Bang Room (1992) by Paul McCarthy and Viral Research (1986) by Charles Ray. Leading artists represented in the Collection include: Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, Glenn Brown, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Thomas Demand, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Urs Fischer, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Hirschorn, Damien Hirst, Sherrie Levine, Paul McCarthy, Reinhard Mucha, Sarah Lucas, Paola Pivi, Anish Kapoor, Mike Kelley, Charles Ray, Cindy Sherman, Rudolf Stingel and Piotr Uklanski. The series of four displays will include many works of art shown in Britain for the first time in many years.
The displays are shown in the dedicated Collections Gallery. Following the first presentation of works by Maurizio Cattelan, three further displays of sculpture and photography will explore other key themes in the Collections, from 15 December 2012 – 10 March 2013; 19 March– 9 June 2013; and, 18 June – 8 September 2013.