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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May, 2004, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Man hurt attacking shock artwork
Him sculpture by Maurizio Cattelan
The artist's previous works have provoked controversy
A man has been taken to hospital in Italy after falling from a tree as he tried to cut down a modern artwork.

Fabrizio di Benedetto, 44, fell as he attempted to remove lifelike plastic dummies of three children hanged in nooses on a tree in Milan.

The artwork had been created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, whose works have often sparked controversy.

Cattelan, 44, said he was sorry about the accident, but said the work was designed to stimulate discussion.

"The work itself is a commentary on violence, so it's a bit ironic if not depressing if it comes down because of an act of violence," he said.

'Aesthetic torture'

It had opened to consternation from passers-by, praise from avant-garde art critics and front-page newspaper stories.

Mr di Benedetto had reportedly climbed a ladder with a saw to put an end to what he called the unbearable "aesthetic torture" of the exhibit.

Firemen cut down a third sculpture of a barefoot boy also hanging from one of the city's oldest trees in the Piazza XXIV Maggio.

Cattelan's past works have included a sculpture of Adolf Hitler kneeling and a likeness of Pope John Paul felled by a meteorite.

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