01 Works, CONTEMPORARY Interpretation of the Bible! Maurizio Cattelan’s UNTITLED, with Footnotes — #42

Henry Zaidan
3 min readSep 9, 2022
Maurizio Cattelan
UNTITLED, c. 2007

Resin, paint, human hair, garment packing tissues, wood and screws
235.6 by 137.2 by 47 cm
Private collection

Imbued with a profound sense of horror and urgency, Untitled is an image of death, subversion and iconoclasm powerfully rendered through Maurizio Cattelan’s unique language of extreme provocation. Executed in 2007, the life-size sculpture depicts a young girl dressed in a white nightgown, her hands nailed to wooden boards above her head in pseudo-crucifixion. The feeling of ambiguity and unease is augmented by the girl’s position in a large wooden crate; her back to the viewer and face hidden as if suffocated by the crate’s tissue-paper wrapping. More on this painting

Crucifixion is a historical method of capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang for several days until eventual death from exhaustion and asphyxiation. It is principally known from classical antiquity, but remains in occasional use in some countries.

The crucifixion of Jesus is a central narrative in Christianity, and the cross (sometimes depicting Jesus nailed onto it) is the main religious symbol for many Christian churches. More Crucifixion

Maurizio Cattelan, (born January 6, 1960, Padua, Italy), Italian conceptual artist known for his subversive prankish displays.

Cattelan is one of the most popular and controversial artists on the contemporary art scene. Taking freely from the real world of people and objects, his works are an irreverent operation aimed at both art and institutions. His playful and provocative use of materials, objects, and gestures set in challenging contexts forces commentary and engagement.

Cattelan first achieved notoriety on an international scale in New York with La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour), a wax statue of Pope John Paul II hit by a meteorite. That same year, Cattelan launched a biannual, picture-based publication, TOILETPAPER, co-created with the photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. In 2011, he provoked a lively debate with an installation of two thousand stuffed pigeons, presented at the 54th Venice Biennale. Also in 2011, he was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in which all his works were suspended from the ceiling.

In 2016, Cattelan replaced a toilet in a restroom at the Guggenheim with a fully functional replica cast in 18-karat gold. Later that year he was invited to exhibit at the Monnaie de Paris. In 2018 he curated The Artist Is Present, a group show that questioned the most hallowed principles of art in the modern era. He has exhibited in major European and American museums and participated in the major international exhibitions of contemporary art.

In 2019, the artist presented Victory is Not an Option at Blenheim Palace, marking his most significant solo exhibition in the UK in the last twenty years and featuring a new suite of site-specific works. In December 2019, Maurizio Cattelan presented his sculpture Comedian at Art Basel Miami Beach at Perrotin’s booth, marking the artist’s first major debut at an art fair in over 15 years. Achieving tremendous international success, Comedian offers insight into how we assign worth and what kind of objects we value. More on Maurizio Cattelan

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Henry Zaidan

In my Blog is an Online collection of significant paintings from the 1st century to today; complete with art-history and artist bibliographies.