On September 25th 2012, the Whitechapel Gallery in London opened a special exhibition composed of works from the Collection Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, one of the most prominent private collections in Europe. The gallery’s year-long series, Think Twice, is divided into four parts, the first of which is dedicated to works of Maurizio Cattelan – many of which have not been seen in the UK for over 20 years – on display until December 2nd, 2012.
Re Rebaudengo has been collecting contemporary art since the 1990s, and her collection of over 1,000 pieces includes works artists from Doug Aitken, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Thomas Demand, Damien Hirst, Paul McCarthy, Reinhard Mucha, Sarah Lucas, Paola Pivi, Anish Kapoor, and Mike Kelley. Other major artists from the exhibition include Matthew Barney, Glenn Brown, Hans-Peter Feldman, Urs Fischer, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Hirschorn, Sherrie Levine, Cindy Sherman, Rudolf Stingel, and Piotr Uklanski.
Born in Padua, Italy in 1960 and recipient of an honorary degree in Sociology from the University of Trento, Italy in 2004, Maurizio Cattelan’s work focuses on sweeping historical and philosophical themes (power, death, authority), utilizing what the gallery describes as “stunts” to explore their manifestations in contemporary Italian life. He often uses dark humor in an attempt to shock the viewer while “blurring the line between art and reality.” Examples given include Pope John Paul II struck by a meteorite, or reporting a robbery of an “invisible exhibition” to Italian police.
Cattelan, who lives and works in New York and Milan, was awarded the Arnold-Bode prize from the Kunstverein Kassel, Germany in 2004, and has exhibited at Skulptur Projekte, Münster; the Tate Gallery; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Cattelan has also been a part of the Venice Biennale – in 1993, 1997, 1999, and 2002.
Sculptural installation Bidibidobidiboo (1996), referring to the words sung by the fairy godmother of Cinderella, creates a caricature of the theme of childhood innocence; in Il Bel Paese (1995), the logo from an Italian cheese “Bel Paese” (“beautiful country,” referring to Italy) is printed on a circular floor-rug.
Other key works in Rebaudengo’s collection include Damien Hirst’s The Acquired Inability to Escape, Inverted and Divided (1993), Sarah Lucas’ Love me (1998), Paul McCarthy’s Bang Bang Room (1992), and Charles Ray’s Viral Research (1986).
The series Think Twice will be displayed in the Whitechapel Gallery’s ‘Collection’s Gallery,’ and the four-part exhibition will explore key themes from Rebaudengo’s collection. The following three parts will run from December 15th, 2012 – March 10th, 2013; March 19th, 2013 – June 9th, 2013; and June 18th – September 8th, 2013.