It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness, but Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan believes otherwise. “The Artist Is Present” is an exhibition project curated by the man himself and powered by Gucci, to convey the message that mimicry can be considered a noble act of creation, featuring the same artistic value as the original.
Housed in the Yuz Museum in Shaghai, a land where replication runs amok, the exhibition questions the modern world of simulacra in which originality, intention, expression are thought to be the consecrated principles of art. Instead, it rewrites the concept of counterfeit in a new way to conceive copy as an indispensable tool for facing our contemporary society.
Visitors can expect stellar pieces of art, such as Cattelan’s very own recreation of the majestic Sistine Chapel and the LA’s iconic Hollywood sign backdrop, as well as thought-provoking installations like Danish art group SUPERFLEX’s replica of the Council of the European Union’s humble restroom. Even Gucci’s Sylvie bag undergoes artistic interpretation, making an unexpected appearance in the form of LEGO bricks.
The lengths these artists go to reconcile the concept of originality and imitation can only be truly appreciated in person, so pay the Yuz Museum a visit for an experience almost like, the original. Not fully convinced? Men’s Folio pinned Instagram Stories has snippets of each of the artwork for preview.