Maurizio Cattelan, the renowned Italian artist, is introducing dead horses art installation for the viewer treat.
A solitary horse evokes a sense of loneliness, suggesting a desperate attempt to escape solitude, its transformation into a herd changes the whims of individual experience into orchestrated, intentional movement.
The “Kaputt” editions recontextualize a former piece: here, the solitary leaping taxidermied horse of Cattelan’s 2007 ‘untitled’ becomes an entire suspended herd.
The title of the exhibition at Fondation Beyeler with 5 horses as a whole comes from the novel ‘kaputt primavera’ by Curzio Malaparte, an embellished account based on Malaparte’s experiences on the eastern front during WWII. In the text, the author recounts the tragic death of a thousand horses who jumped into Finland’s Lake Ladoga in their attempts to escape a forest fire caused by aerial bombardments.
As the horses swam across, the waters of the lake suddenly froze solid, trapping the animals in place, their heads above the water and eyes frozen open. With his exhibition at the Beyeler, Cattelan seems to offer visitors the view from below lake Ladoga’s surface. Like the preserving effects of cold water in Malaparte’s recount, taxidermy has frozen these animals in space and time, leaving them neither alive nor truly dead, but permanently in suspension, looking outwards at something that gallerygoers are unable to see.
‘the jump [of the single ‘untitled’ horse] is delusional and yet heroic. The five horses transform delusion into panic and individual effort into a feverish crowd. It’s an exodus we’re witnessing, not a search for freedom. Like Malaparte’s horses in Finland that run away from the burning wood into the frozen lake, Cattelan’s horses do not seek freedom but survival.‘ says art critic Francesco Bonami.