Long-term project by director Maura Axelrod scheduled for a 2015 release.

Long-term project by director Maura Axelrod scheduled for a 2015 release.

Maurizio Cattelan is the subject of a new documentary, apparently made over the last ten years by hard-hitting journalist Maura Axelrod, which appears to peel back some of the layers of self-mythology that surround the Padua-born prankster.

If the trailer’s anything to go by the documentary looks like it will be an almost Exit Through The Gift Shop-style exploration of the art world and all the mad-hatter characters at its heart.

And it doesn’t look like it will demystify Cattelan much with the opening statement from a Vogue art critic describing how the artist may, or may not, have once eaten a cat.

In fact, ambiguity and mystery are a big part of Cattelan’s extensive output, which includes a sculpture of the pope being hit by a meteorite, a giant hand flipping the bird, a praying Hitler and a drowned Pinocchio.

The art space he ran in New York in the early 2000s – The Wrong Gallery – was kept locked at all times, so visitors had to peek through the windows, which is as good a metaphor of Cattelan’s appeal to the institution as a criticism of its elitism.

And with Toilet Paper, Cattelan’s art journal – in collaboration with photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari – the two Italian artists have pioneered a new aesthetic that is distinctly Cattelanian; bright, bold and pop art-ish but savage and fabulously filthy too.

Fingers crossed this new movie, due for release sometime in 2015, is as compelling and confounding as Cattelan himself.