“Officially its name is L.O.V.E. – so it stands for love – but everyone can read between the lines and take away the message they see for themselves.”
– Maurizio Cattelan
If you stroll into Milan’s Piazza degli Affari, you are bound to feast your eyes on a shocking sight: A 4 to 5 meters high marble sculpture of a veiny hand giving its beholders the middle finger. The middle finger is placed on a 7 m base. The display of the fascist salute has a twist though, all the other fingers have been chopped off to leave the middle finger, considered an obscene offensive gesture. The sculpture by Maurizio Cattelan is right in front of the fascist-styled Palazzo Mezzanotte, the Italian stock exchange building. To many people, it seems to flip it off.
Lucio Fontana – Struttura al Neon per la IX Triennale di Milano, 1951/2017, installation view at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2017
Photo: Agostino Osio
About Lucio Fontana
Lucio Fontana’s interest in technological and scientific advancements that occurred during the 20th century largely inspired his approach to a wide array of methods and mediums. For instance, he has worked with stone, neon, ceramics and even metals. As a painter, he went beyond two-dimensional surfaces by engaging technology as a means to attain expressions of the 4th dimension. By going beyond the expected, Lucio managed to create an innovative and new aesthetic dialect that blended painting, sculpture, and architecture.
Carsten Höller – Test Site, 2007, New Museum, New York – Exhibition: Experience, 2011
Carsten Höller is well known for playfully including his slide installations in major museums across the world. Höller, who is formerly a scientist with a degree in agronomy, is famous for repurposing components of the real world, such as slides, for art spaces. The majority of his works feature aesthetics that are relational, meaning that the projects created are inspired by the relationship that people have with their social contexts. The end result of Höller’s incredible work is an experience that resembles part playground and part lab, which is a crowd pleaser.
Kimsooja – To Breathe – A Mirror Woman, 2006, Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro, Madrid, Spain
Kimsooja is a Korean-born artist that has won recognition around the world. Despite living in New York, her work is exhibited across Europe, Asia and America. Her work includes performances, photographs, installations and videos. Her work involves a number of subjects like relationships with others, nomadism and the role of women among other people in dealing with challenges that we meet every day.
Jeff Koons – Balloon Dog (Orange), executed in 1994-2000, mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating, 307 x 363 x 114cm, one of five unique versions (Blue, Magenta, Orange, Red, Yellow)
Sold at Christie’s in 2013 for US$ 58,405,000
Jeff Koon’s professional life
When it comes to the critique of Jeff Koons’ work, there are often two schools of thought. On one side, there’s a small group of naysayers that think that his artworks are crass and more of marketing gimmicks than art. On the other hand, most critics and sharp minds in the art scene consider him as a pioneer of the neo-pop art movement. In his defense, Koons has asserted that there’s “no hidden meaning” in his works. Nonetheless, no one can dispute the fact that Jeff Koons is one of the most important contemporary artists of our time.
About Jaume Plensa’s sculptures
Jaume Plensais arguably one of the top sculptors today. He is largely known for creating huge-sized ethereal sculptures and has also worked with different other types of contemporary art media, including from acoustic installations to video projections.
Elmgreen & Dragset – Short Cut, 2003, Mixed-media installation, 250 x 850 x 300 cm
About Short Cut
In Short Cut (2003), Elmgreen and Dragset installed a run-of-the-mill white Fiat Uno in Milan’s quintessential strolling and gathering place for all tourists and residents, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
The work is a metaphor for global tourism, but also a symbol for the precarious nature of today’s world. It also describes a universe in movement that travels along endless, unpredictable paths towards fanciful destinations. The first impression of passers-by is that they have come across an accident scene: the floor is cracked and the wheels of the car are stuck among shards of the mosaic. Short Cut sparks reactions and debate throughout the city; animated clusters of people gather around the installation. On the morning that the exhibition opens, the traffic police leave a ticket on the car for parking in an unauthorized area, and two members of the city council ask for it to be removed; to demonstrate their disapproval, they stage a protest in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, eating a pizza next to the installation.