'The Artist Is Present': A Look Inside Gucci's Art Exhibition With Maurizio Cattelan
Maurizio Cattelan’s The Artist is Present, an exhibition powered by Gucci, runs until 16 December, 2018, at the Yuz Museum, 35 Fenggu Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai, China.
Titled The Artist is Present, after Marina Abramovic’s celebrated solo show at MoMA in 2010, the name and poster of the exhibition wants the very idea of appropriation to be there from the get go. Curated by Maurizio Cattelan and powered by Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, the exhibition focusses on artists projects that propose simulation and copy as a paradigm of global culture, something that even Michele himself has been accused of over the course of his tenure as the Creative Director of Gucci.
The title aims to demonstrate how the act of copying can be considered a noble act of creation, featuring the same artistic value as the original. After all, isn’t imitation supposed to be the best form of flattery?
Before you proceed into the first room of the exhibition, guests are greeted with walls of text that proclaim that nothing is truly original, even we as human beings are copies of our parents.
With its neon tinged lights, the first room of the exhibition has undoubtedly been a hit on Instagram. The colours of the light were inspired by prisons, with pink exuding a calming effect on violent tendencies and blue to prevent prisoners from locating their veins to inject drugs.
This film presentation was a confusing but interesting short story that involved a factory assembly of chinese workers cultivating pearls and err, a woman sneezing out pasta.
One of Maurizio Cattelan's work in the exhibition, this was a 1:6 scaled down replica of the famed Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City. Because who needs to go to Rome when you can marvel at this well-made copy?
Modeled after a museum giftshop, this room combines the work of a few artists including Andy Hung Chi-Kin, a Lego certified professional who recreated one of the only two Gucci-centric pieces in the exhibit—a Gucci Sylvie bag made out of Lego bricks.
P.S. Those postcards you see against the wall? You can take one as a souvenir, but we won't spoil the surprise as to what's on them.
Guests with a weak stomach, brace yourself for this. Delvoye's piece features a machine that simulates the human digestive system, and we mean all parts of it. The machine can actually create real (and extremely pungent) faecal matter and you might want to breeze past this room as quickly as you can.
The only performance art in the exhibit, a woman sings hauntingly in Icelandic.
No, this isn't the actual toilets of the exhibition or the musuem. This is a recreation of the toilets of the European Union building. While we're pretty sure you're not allowed to take photos in the original one since it is a restricted building, taking selfies in this one requires no clearance.
Proving that pictures can be faked, the final room in the exhibition is a recreation of the Hollywood sign, where guests can take pictures and upload them, pretending that they actually visited the Hollywood Hills.