The back side of HOLLYWOOD, viewed from Palermo

Visual arts

Maurizio Cattelan, “Hollywood,” 2001
color photography, plexiglas, 180 x 400 x 15 cm
Weserburg Museum of Art, Bremen, Germany

Yes, Palermo. Palermo, capitol city of Sicily, the tip of the boot of Italia, home of the Spaghetti Western.

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s restaging/replica of the Hollywood sign, erected among palm trees and olive plantations, sits on a Palermo hilltop. The huge-scale conceptual art piece was commissioned by the Venice Biennial in 2001.

It pits the fantasy promise of La-La Land with the dirt-hard realities of Italian culture — the latter represented by the Bellolampo city dump that sits the bottom of the hill where the doppelganger sign was constructed.

“It’s like spraying stardust over the Sicilian landscape: it’s a cut and paste dream” said Cattelan, of his project. “I tried to overlap two opposite realities, Sicily and Hollywood: after all, images are just projections of desire, and I wanted to shade their boundaries. It might be a parody, but it’s also a tribute. It’s like freezing the moment in which truth turns into hallucination. There is something hypnotic in Hollywood: it’s a sign that immediately speaks about obsessions, failures and ambitions. It is a magnet for contradictions.”

HOLLYWOOD, the installation, was made possible thanks to the intervention and the support by the company AMIA – Insieme per l’ambiente, special business for waste recycling management.

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