The Consulate General of Italy in Canton has inaugurated an exhibition featuring some of Maurizio Cattelan’s most iconic works. The exhibition is named “Wish You Were Here”; it has been set up at the Sea World Culture and Arts Center in Shenzhen and will close on 16 October. It features iconic works such as Comedian, the famous banana taped to the wall (2019) and the sombre squirrel Bidibidobidiboo (1996), as well as new works created specifically for the large spaces the Shenzhen venue offers.
Born in Padua in 1960, Cattelan has always managed to amaze, ever since his debut. His works have always combined sculpture and performance, while criticising the art world and its mechanisms, as well as social hierarchies and economic interests. Following the success of his first solo exhibition in China, “The Last Judgment”, which opened in Beijing in 2021, “Wish You Were Here” (curated by Francesco Bonami and organised by UCCA Center for Contemporary Art and Shenzhen Sea World Cultures and Arts Center, with the support of the Consulate General of Italy in Guangzhou) was specifically thought up for the cultural context of the city of Shenzhen. The title of the exhibition takes cue from an expression that is commonly written on postcards. In an era marked by the pandemic and by prolonged separation, Cattelan beckons the visitors to consider the works in the light of the desire and need for human connection, which can be summarised in the phrase “Wish You Were Here”.
The inauguration of the exhibition was preceded by a meeting with the Head of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Shenzhen Municipal Government, Cao Saixian, and the Director of SWCAC, Jason Sun, who expressed their appreciation for the collaboration, in the cultural and economic field, between the Consulate of Italy in Canton and the city of Shenzhen, China’s technological hub, a UNESCO city of creativity and design, and one of the top cities in China in terms of GDP per capita.