The cycle of life


Breath Ghosts Blind
Until February 20th, 2022

After an eleven-year absence from the Lombard capital, Cattelan returns to Milan with a solo exhibition at HangarBicocca that symbolises the cycle of each of our lives.

Breath Ghosts Blind, the new exhibition by Maurizio Cattelan and curated by Roberta Tenconi and Vicente Todolí, is on view until 20th February 2022 at HangarBicocca, Milan.
It was certainly not the first time that Cattelan exhibited his works in Milan, from his finger in Piazza Affari (L.O.V.E., 2010) to the Sgrappa shop (2021), but it had been eleven years since he had a solo exhibition.
Visitors will be surprised that there are only three artworks in the exhibition: Breath, a white Carrara marble sculpture representing a man lying on the ground sleeping next to his dog; Ghosts, dozens of taxidermied pigeons perched on the walls and steel beams of HangarBicocca; and finally Blind, a black monolith crossed by an airplane.

The artworks have been designed according to a site-specific exhibition project for the spaces of HangarBicocca, offering a vision of collective and personal history through a symbolic representation of the cycle of life.
 More specifically, the exhibition develops in a sequence of three distinct acts that address existential themes and concepts such as the fragility of life, memory and the sense of individual and community loss. The unusual project questions the current system of values, between symbolic references and images that belong to the collective imagination.
Cattelan often draws on symbols and images that the viewer can easily decode and interpret. Starting from moments, historical events or symbols of contemporary society, the artist invites visitors to change their point of view, challenging their certainties and recognising the complexity and ambiguity of reality.

I believe that art still has the power to deal with complex issues and return them in a simple and immediate way, but never simplistic.

– Maurizio Cattelan

Regarding his long absence from the exhibition scene, the artist confesses that it took a long time for him to reconnect with a curator, which is why he has not shown his work in a solo exhibition for eleven years. “Sometimes it takes much longer to find the right curator at the right time,” says Cattelan. The artist had already worked with Todolì at the Tate and perhaps this made the bond more solid than others.
Cattelan then decided to return to Milan, a city with which he feels he has established a deep bond. It was a city that gave the artist moments of encouragement and professional satisfaction, allowing him to create a relatively small but very receptive network. “That small network has expanded so much, and Milan today is not only a city that goes beyond the temporal boundaries of the Salone week, but also crosses geographical boundaries and extends to Bergamo, Turin, even Bologna.”
Breath Ghosts Blind marks an extraordinary return to Milan by the artist, in an exhibition that symbolically represents the cycle of life, always poised between hope and failure, matter and spirit, truth and fiction.

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