“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.
Thomas Demand – Grotto, 2006, Pier 24, San Francisco, 2013
Photo: Blake Gopnik
Thomas Demand has ignited the imaginations and adventurous sides of viewers with his photography piece, titled Grotto. Pulling viewers into an underground cavern covered in beautiful bright stalactites and stalagmites, art lovers find themselves in the center of the earth. However, if viewers look a little deeper, they will find that there is much more with Grotto than what meets the eye. Once viewers come into realization, they are left in awe at the work that had gone into the creation of this photograph.
Damián Ortega – Cosmic Thing, 2002, Volkswagen Beetle 1983, stainless steel wire, acrylic, Malmö Konsthall
About Damián Ortega
Damián Ortega was born in Mexico City in 1967. He now divides his time between Mexico City and Berlin. He has gained a world-renowned reputation as his works have been exhibited internationally. His career in art began as a political cartoonist, work that has influenced his more recent work, as is evident in the playful energy often found in his works. Ortega is a multitalented artist who is known for his installations, sculptures, videos and performance pieces. He takes inspiration from a variety of seemingly mundane objects and is known for his ability to transform the mundane into something that is anything but. Ortega’s work investigates the ways in which culture affects consumption, focusing on explicit economic, aesthetic and cultural situations.
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.