The Perfect Exhibition for the Brainless? Maurizio Cattelan’s ONE TORINO

by Paddy Johnson and Corinna Kirsch on June 10, 2014 Opinion

One of the many images you can contemplate on Shit n Die.

One of the many images you can contemplate on Shit n Die.

What will transform Turin, Italy into the internationally renowned artistic hub for the avant-garde it is meant to be? Artissima, an organization that describes itself as “a window onto the most experimental frontier of the visual arts” has a three-part plan. It’s outlined in their press release, which is perfect for any human who has recently undergone a lobotomy.

First, they will launch an exhibition called ONE TORINO that brings every single thing about Turin into one room. We’re promised a study of Turin’s artistic, historic, and architectural space that will “recount the essence of the language of art.” Whatever this means, we can’t wait.

Next, Artissima will hire a man to build this special exhibition in the Palazzo Cavour and he will be so avant-garde no title could bestowed upon him. Referred to as the show’s “non-curator,” that man is Maurizio Cattelan, a “retired artist with a curious soul” and famed purveyor of dad jokes. He’s got two helpers who aren’t avant-garde enough to forgo the title of curator; Myriam Ben Salah and Marta Papini.

But let’s clear up some facts for a second, Maurizio Cattelan is not retired; he never actually said he was retiring, but it’s a nice myth some press people still like to believe. Here’s what Cattelan actually told The Art Newspaper back in 2011:

“I have come to the end of a cycle of my art,” explaining that he would no longer make the hyperrealist sculptures for which he is known. He added that he wanted to “get out of a system that seduces you into repeating yourself”.

Finally, Cattelan and cohorts have created a Tumblr for Artissima that will reflect on the exhibition they’ve put together. It is called Shit n Die. So far images include a still from the 1976 horror movie “Carrie,” a sword fight between Sikhs over who should get to use a microphone first, and a picture of Batman and Robin kissing.

Spend a bit of time on this Tumblr, and think about what this says about art, Turin, and the avant-garde. Witness nothingness creep over your mind. Once your mind is completely emptied, but for a few essential shards of careerist ambition, you will have achieved the state of mind necessary to replicate a project like this.

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