There’s a mysterious place that wows everyone in Milan. It is the headquarters and creative studio for TOILETPAPER, an image-based publication established by the artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. This mysterious space relocated to the exhibition space Hyundai Card Storage in Itaewon. Hyundai Card Storage is a space that not only showcases various modern art genres but also wide and experimental exhibitions including architecture, design, and film.
‘TOILETPAPER’ is a magazine launched in 2010 by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari who has been crating an original world in advertisement and fashion both. Maurizio Cattelan has received much attention with his work ‘Comedian’ (2019), which was inspired by a banana at the modern art festival Art Basel Miami. This unique building is the ‘TOILETPAPER’ headquarters and their creative studio located in Milan. The space reflects their unconventional and iconic works and spiritual world.
The ‘TOILETPAPER: The Studio’ exhibition presents an unusual experience of visiting this mysterious space in Milan. The ‘TOILETPAPER’ headquarters studio was first introduced to the public during the recent Milan design week, and it led to quite a spectacle with so many people lining up to visit, as if they had been at a theme park. Now we are to embark on the Milan ‘TOILETPAPER’ headquarters tour without the jetlag. Let’s dive into the space filled with their relentless imagination and eccentric aesthetics.
Once you open the red door and step in, you will encounter a rather unsettling space which is filled with all colors of snake drawings on all walls. This is only the overture to all the unusual things you will experience throughout the studio. Start your wonderous adventure from this magical room filled with hissing snakes all around the walls and the letter from Cattelan and Ferrari written for Korean visitors!
When you move past the snake-filled magic room, you will enter the living room. The walls are padded with works by Cattelan and Ferrari like wallpaper. Various works seen from the ‘TOILETPAPER’ magazine fill this space on the mid-century modern furniture, rug, mirror, sculpture, and numerous decoration items in collage, which creates a feeling of looking into a fancy kaleidoscope. The exhibition site sound, which is a collection of everyday sounds, completes the ironic realistic and yet unrealistic atmosphere.
The cactus next to the door and the huge eggs compose the work ‘God,’ created through a collaboration with the Italian design brand Gufram. It is a parody of the work ‘Cactus,’ created in 1972, by the Italian designers Guido Crocco and Franco Mello. It stimulates the sensual and bizarre imagination.
The CCTV video played on the table is actual footage of the Milan office. The video of the ‘TOILETPAPER’ crew dancing in the actual office living room makes you feel odd, as if you were sharing the same space with them.
Every single space here is a photo spot. Look around while sitting on a pink soap that looks like someone has taken a bite off it! You may get a special inspiration you could never imagine in your everyday life.
This is the corridor, used as an office pantry. You can print, do laundry, or stack up all sorts of stuff here. The wigs inside the washing machine may startle you, but this place is filled with extraordinary and creative imaginations. Look at the wall with huge lips that shouts ‘SHIT!’ It’s like one is exposing oneself in everyday clothing while the world of unconsciousness, greed and madness, hallucination, and dreams are intermixed.
The red lips that shout ‘SHIT’ is the work most familiar to people along with the hand holding a lipstick. People already know of them thanks to the collaboration products by Seletti and ‘TOILETPAPER.’ ‘TOILETPAPER’ believes that the illusion of an image makes people to think for themselves. They implement their iconic images onto lifestyle products as well and transform our everyday lives into something more interesting and fascinating.
This is a kitchen that does not quite look like a kitchen. Here, also, you can check out the images created by ‘TOILETPAPER’ that crosses between reality and unconsciousness, familiarity and unfamiliarity, and kitsch and elegance. From the photography to the furniture, tableware, and wallpaper, this space leads the visitors to a freer and more creative world of imagination.
The hand holding a lipstick is even famous in Korea, known as the 'Jennie Mirror' ？ to those who are interested in interior designs and items. Pose like Black Pink Jennie and take a photo next to the mirror!
The couch with the hand holding a lipstick on it is also a recommended photo spot. Its dreamy vibe will make it the best spot for a photograph of your life.
Now step outside and into the garden. The light from the ceiling shines down all over the space like sunlight. Here you will find the work ‘THE END,’ created through a collaboration with the Italian design brand Gufram. This tombstone catches your eyes with its ironic epitaph that implies the end of the Gufram brand and yet a fresh new beginning. This work, the embodiment of ‘TOILETPAPER’s unique black humor, is not really a tombstone, so you can sit on it to take photos.
This is a space for the ‘TOILETPAPER’ collection. On their work, Cattelan says, "We always begin from basic and general themes like love and desire. Then we move around like artists on canvas, undergoing various experiments, and always find ourselves at a point we never expected to be at. The best images always result from such spontaneous plays.” ‘TOILETPAPER’ images, known for their vivid colors, present surprises to the readers.
There’s also a corner where you can read the ‘TOILETPAPER’ magazine. The name ‘TOILETPAPER’ came from a word ‘toilet paper,’ which came to Cattelan when he was sitting on the toilet one day in 2009. Fittingly, the magazine ‘TOILETPAPER’ is created as a ‘simple and realistic magazine that doesn’t have to be taken seriously or requires thinking’ like easily used and discarded toilet paper. It’s filled with only images without any text or advertisement. Published twice a year, ‘TOILETPAPER’ rids itself of the traditional codes of magazine and challenges the new artistic changes and expansiveness of images.
Recently, the boundaries between painting, design, fashion, architecture, music, and all genres of art are getting blurry. The distinction between fine art and commercial art is also coming down. What inspiration do you get from the ‘TOILETPAPER’ space, which transcends the realm of art and makes even everyday lives special? Let’s look around all corners of the provocative TOILETPAPER studio filled with black humor and experience various possibilities of special inspiration and creation!
‘TOILETPAPER: The Studio’
*Only Hyundai Card is allowed for payment. (Price with a 20% discount upon payment: General 4,000 KRW, middle/high school students 3,200 KRW)
*Reservation is possible for a Hyundai Card member and one accompanying person.
*Tours run only through reservations to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 and to maintain a pleasant exhibition environment.
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