L.O.V.E., Libertà (Freedom). Odio (Hate). Vendetta (Revenge). Eternità (Eternity).

 

The living Italian artist that is the highest-quoted on the market, is the author of the provocative, 4 meter-high work, made out of Carrara marble. We are speaking about the artist-sculptor, Maurizio Cattelan and his work, L.O.V.E, which has had the power of splitting public opinion in two. It has become the symbol of the protests against capitalism and the world of high finance. The work represents a hand, the symbol of the fascist salute, but with the distinction of having its fingers severed, except for the middle finger that points up towards the sky.

It almost seems like it’s an ‘F you’ towards fascism and the stock. An irreverent and provocative gesture, which has been the most famous and discussed finger in Milan for three years as of now. It was not by chance that it was inaugurated during the economic crisis. The sculpture was systematically placed in the center of Piazza Affari (business square), in September 25, 2010 in front of Palazzo Mezzanotte, home of the Milan Stock Exchange. Initially, it was intended to be a temporary work, but soon thereafter, the work’s ownership was definitively passed on from the artist to the City of Milan.The sculpture offers two broad interpretations; a purely artistic one, where the severed fingers and the erected middle finger indicate only one way things should to go, and the other, being much more direct, which indicates the actual way forward.

Maurizio Cattelan has always enjoyed the reputation of an artist provocateur. His work, which takes the form of objects and people in the real world, are the result of an operation against irreverent art and institutions. In 1999, he exhibited the now famous sculpture of Pope John Paul II slumped to the ground struck by a meteorite, at the Royal Academy in London, a work that made him known throughout the world. Then, in 2004 in Milan, he created a work with mannequins depicting three children hanging from a tree, which caused an uproar. His latest work, Untitled, is considered a sort of manifesto of his work. It was auctioned at Sotheby's for eight million dollars. In short, the defiance in his blood, together with a self-taught career, completely out of any scheme, and his natural artistic talents, contribute to making him a world-renowned artist.

Of course, the sculpture has created much discussion among the councilors of the City Council that, remaining somewhat perplexed, had tried not to expose it, especially in front of the Stock Exchange. Contemporary art is known sometimes to becomes the subject of heated debate and conflicting opinions. There are those who understand it, those who strive but just end up failing to understand it, those who swears that they have grasped its meaning and message, and those who give up immediately, without even much effort.

Milan, the Italian city where design is home. Suductive inspirations in the IT5 of the week.