Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan has sold two editions of his latest minimalist artwork Comedian this week – for $120,000 each at French contemporary gallery Perrotin. The pieces of his work in question: a banana duct-taped to a wall.
Gallery founder Emmanuel Perrotin was astounded: “It’s a mircale. I don’t know how this happened.” After the successful sales of the first two editions, Cattelan agreed with Perrotin that a third edition will go on sale for $150,000.
How much would you pay for a banana duct-taped to a wall? How much money do you have?
Cattelan has not elaborated on the meaning of this work, a press statement from the Perrotin gallery said that the work was initially intended to be a sculpture, with Cattelan trailing several banana replica models using resin and bronze before ultimately settling on the real banana. Cattelan went as far as to hang bananas in hotel rooms when he travelled for inspiration.
Perrotin embellished the work’s ambiguity by suggesting its significance is in the banana as a “symbol of global trade, a double entendre as well as a classic device for humour.” He went on to say, in praise of Cattelan’s artistic vision, that added significance is attained by transforming everyday objects into “vehicles of both delight and critique.”
A previous work of Cattelan’s, America, sold for $6 million at the Guggenheim in 2016. It was a fully-function 18-carat solid gold toilet that was available for use to the public and attendees. The toilet was stolen this year in September, when two arrests were made but the toilet itself has yet to be recovered. Cattelan said in a statement “I always liked heist movies and finally I’m in one of them.”