“Cattelan’s objects seem to dwell in an intermediate zone, a no-man’s land. They clearly occupy the same space as their viewers and yet they step back from it, enclosed in a suspended, unreal atmosphere that is obviously fictional and constructed. Most often, Cattelan’s work forces viewers to modify not only their beliefs, but also their physical collocation in space… No matter how aggressive and violent, Cattelan’s works always tend to undermine their own authority by choosing a marginal position. They never stand upright: they are literally and metaphorically de-based, deprived of a pedestal, always in a precarious position. They are sculptures, but they systematically refuse the moral and formal weight of monuments.”
Massimiliano Gioni, "Maurizio Cattelan—Rebel with a Pose" in Maurizio Cattelan, London and New York, 2003, p. 173

Maurizio Cattelan pictured in 2011. © 2021 Maurizio Cattelan

M aurizio Cattelan’s Untitled from 2001 is a perfect example of the artist’s inventive and relentlessly incisive examination into the surreal aspects of everyday life. Forming new perceptions of scale and reality, the present work’s miniature elevator doors appear fully operational through Cattelan’s immense attention to detail. The ankle-height gleaming industrial doors open and close as the number boards above the sliding doors expectedly light up and change floors to suggest the fictional ascent and descent of the lift through invisible stories behind the wall. Appropriating the illusion of a fairytale while utilizing a mature visual vocabulary, Untitled spins a world tangled in reason, logic, and rationality through the exhilarating potential of magic.

Maurizio Cattelan has been one of the most imaginative and consistently surprising artists working on the international art scene since the late 1980s, producing an extraordinarily diverse and innovative body of work that forces us to question the way in which we view and understand the world around us. Arguably an ‘anti-artist’, Cattelan subverts the traditional methods and ideals behind the artistic process. Moving beyond self-effacing humor, the present work refuses straightforward analysis. Never a stranger to subversive political statements that slyly reveal the unstable underbellies of contemporary life, Cattelan’s Untitled focuses a critical eye on the structural reality of that which surrounds us but is perpetually ignored for its familiarity. Ultimately, Untitled is testament to Cattelan’s distinctive and remarkable artistic practice and can be seen as a significant instance of the artist’s subversion of creative, cultural and social traditions.