His mockery of Catholicism comes in the following of the crucified frogs of Kippenberger. In 1999, he exhibited a life-size figure of Pope John Paul II crushed by a meteorite. The title, La Nona Ora, is a direct reference to the theology of Christ's death.
His most provocative work is Him, edited in 2001 in three units plus an artist's proof in wax, human hair, suit, polyester and pigments.
The kneeling character in a position of prayer has the size of a child but wears the gray suit of an adult in the outdated fashion of the 1930s. It is displayed for being at first viewed from behind. When reaching the front side, we recognize the figure of Hitler with his signature forelock and mustache. The viewer who had been tempted to laugh is now caught with the memory of the horrors of Nazism, which remains for many a taboo subject despite so many years.
The statements made by Cattelan unambiguously confirm that Him is an alert and not an apology. The attitude of this small Hitler looking like a penitent of Canossa does not eliminate the danger of racism and totalitarianism. For 15 years, Him has been widely viewed and discussed. The success of an exhibition in 2013 in the former Warsaw ghetto further indicates that this work must be perceived as a poignant request for peace.
The artist's proof is estimated $ 10M, for sale by Christie's in New York on May 8, lot 39 A. The essay of the catalog is significantly signed by a rabbi. The video shared by Christie's follows the correct way to show the work to reveal only at the ultimate moment the unsustainable and yet terribly current message.
SOLD for $ 17.2M including premium