With great pride, we offer a preview excerpt of the interview, carried out by the editors of the Italian magazine “Io Donna”, to the brilliant and provocative Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, author of numerous and discussed works that, despite everything, have made the history of Italian and international contemporary art scene. An intense interview, which traces the stages of his life, from early, unfulfilling but necessary jobs, to the desire, or rather, the need for redemption.
- Let’s strat from your origins. Before your work of untiring troubler bring you to become so famous, you had an unusual existential journey that we can define “American-like”. Neither support, nor family tradition. Can we summarize the steps? Trucker dad, mom cleaning lady. At thirteen, I was selling souvenirs and holy cards in St. Anthony basilica, then I worked in a laundromat. At seventeen I went to live by myself. To earn my own living I did the nurse. I worked all day and at evening I attended night school. Of all the work I’ve done, the nurse is my favorite. Because of the human relationship with the patient. Then I tried something less demanding, the garbage man. My job ended at 2pm: there, I tasted freedom. End lastly the morgue: remove, wash, dress the corpses. Of all the works, this has been the more serene. There was no emotional involvement with patients. Perhaps I have gone that far, to that last stage, to be forced to change. A twenty-five I did: I stopped working.
- How did it go? I couldn’t stand it no more: the need to work to sustain, with time become self-harm. I had a razor blade in my pocket and cut my fingers, just to go to emergency ward and have a few days of sick note. At that point I left for Amsterdam, which was like Bologna of northern Europe. There I discovered the world of artists who occupied abandoned factories. Then I came home and, after a week, I cut myself back with the blade. It couldn’t last. One day, the most important of my life, I resigned. And I decided that I would never worked again. It took ten years to correct the wrong education received by my family, who saw the work as a tool for survival. But I wanted a job that would emancipate me.
- From there, your first works, the success in Italy, your move to New York in 93. A career marked by a playful but profound meditation, always accompanied by a great deal of controversy. From the puppet-children hanged to a tree in Milan, to “Ninth hour”, with the pope felled by a meteorite, and ending with Love, the hand of which remains just a middle finger, installed in front of the Milan stock exchange. I produce things that interact with the public and with the media. I don’t like a work that doesn’t produce a response. If it’s good, it must be able to make friends and even enemies. Only when you’re not sure you are very sensitive to criticism. But usually, if I’m not sure, I don’t exhibit my works. Before, I think about it so many times …
You can read the full interview in the number of “Io Donna” on sale from October 15. A special thanks to Alessandra Versaci and Ambito5.