Cattelan’s personal art practice has led to him gaining a reputation as an art scene’s joker. One of his best known sculptures, ‘La Nona Ora’ consists of an effigy of Pope John Paul II in full ceremonial dress being crushed by a meteor and is a good example of his typically humorous approach to work. Another of Cattelan’s quirks is his use of a ‘stand-in’ in media interviews equipped with a stock of evasive answers and non-sensical explanations.
Cattelan’s art makes fun of various systems of order – be it social niceties or his regular digs at the art world – and he often utilises themes and motifs from art of the past and other cultural sectors in order to get his point across. Cattelan sees no reason why contemporary art should be excluded from the critical spotlight it shines on other areas of life and his work seeks to highlight the incongruous nature of the world and our interventions within it no matter where they may lie. His work is often based on simple puns or subverts clichéd situations by, for example, substituting animals for people in sculptural tableaux. Frequently morbidly fascinating, Cattelan’s dark humour sets his work above the simple pleasures of well-made visual one-liners.
He has been described by Jonathan P. Binstock, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art “as one of the great post-Duchampian artists and a smartass, too”
(text from Wikipedia)