“I actually think that reality is far more provocative than my art, I just take it; I’m always borrowing pieces—crumbs really—of everyday reality. If you think my work is provocative, it means that reality is extremely provocative, and we just don’t react to it." (M. Cattelan, quoted in N. Spector, Maurizio Cattelan: All, exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2012, p. 43).
Executed in 1990, Strategies occupies significant territory within Maurizio Cattelan’s multifaceted practice. Comprising seven copies of the magazine Flash Art, glued together like a house of cards, Strategies is part of a larger structure that the artist built and subsequently photographed. He then used the image to create a pirate cover for 500 copies of the magazine, reproducing their graphics and placing his work at the centre. It was the first of Cattelan’s artworks to directly appropriate a pre-existing object, and represented a subversive attempt to further his career by putting himself on the cover of one of Italy’s most important art magazines. In doing so, Cattelan sought to expose the institutional mechanisms that control the success – or failure – of contemporary artists.