A myth is a foundational narrative that may be based in truth or fiction but either way it tells a story of who we are. Thus self-consciousness is constructed by a shared narrative and helps us to give shape and even name our identity. If we think of identity in the usual terms of religion or nationalism, some examples of these mythological narratives include the King James Bible or the story of George Washington cutting down a cherry tree. But in the art world, there are strains of mythology that are built on identity formations like artist, curator, or critic.
But Cattelan also challenges more traditional mythologies such as Christianity. His Untitled, 2009, a taxidermied horse on its side with a wooden sign reading INRI staked in its flank, was placed in a dark gallery of dreamy Magritte paintings. This obviously references the Latin acronym inscribed on Jesus’ cross declaring him to be king of the Jews. But placed on a dead horse, a symbol of foolishness, what does this mean? In the Menil’s comment book there were some Christian visitors that were very much offended by this work, assuming that is was heretical along with Untitled, 2007, a sculpture of a woman face down and crucified in a shipping crate.