Despite having announced his retirement last year, Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan has a new show presenting an intriguing display of taxidermied horses who have apparently gone headfirst into a wall. The hard-to-miss installation is an updated version of an older work by the artist. It was originally an untitled piece from 2007 featuring one horse’s body hanging with its head through a wall but has now multiplied into five headless horse torsos dangling from a bare wall.
The unusual installation is part of the artist’s exhibition titled Kaputt. Unlike its previous form, which appeared to evoke a sense of loneliness and desperation, this display presents a hunt for something more. There is a consensus amongst a herd of horses to either escape the space that the viewers are in or simply to see what’s in the other room. The reason remains unclear, but that is part of the point of the work. To surprise and unsettle viewers while piquing their interest and forcing them to reflect on what would cause not just one but five other living beings to stick their heads through a wall.
Cattelan, who is no stranger to featuring the bold physique of a stallion, incorporates yet another horse in this exhibition. This time, rather than suspending a headless carcass, the artist displays the animal on its side on the ground with a sign jutting out of its belly. The sign says “INRI”—an acronym for the latin phrase “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum” which means “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”).
Kapput is currently on display at Fondation Beyeler through October 6, 2013.