Art/Culture

Toiletpaper's Room Full of Spaghetti

Toiletpaper and a room full of spaghetti? Escape the furor of Art Basel Miami while satisfying your morbid desires and questioning your good taste.

February 07, 2017
Art Basel in Miami is an orgy for the senses: art is everywhere, from its official place at the Main Fair in the Convention Center and numerous others that line the beach on Ocean Drive, to Design Miami and the famous South Beach hotels, to the private museums and design district. It is a weeklong art party: an extravaganza that can easily transcend into too much art --or perhaps too much booze. What is really wonderful though is how easily it is to just escape the furor of it all, to the beach or a spa, or to actually revel in the great art that is on offer regardless of all the distractions. It may be true there is probably too much for a single person to take in, and between obligations, such as drinks at Soho House or a gallery art dinner with the obligatory champagne sponsor, one needs to just make time for the art: from Sun Xun’s commission by Audemar Picquet to Ugo Rondinone’s public art installation part of Art Basel Projects.
A feat so maximalist, absurd, and strangely alluring that it could epitomize Art Basel Miami and all its satellite activities was the Fondation Beyeler’s collaboration with Toiletpaper: a stunning feat for all senses that required one to leave one’s judgement at the door and immerse oneself into its space. It was, with its dose of real-life accessibility, sensational --after all, who doesn’t like a bit of pop? And that too is kind of timeless; with lots of other happenings and installations at the fair, this one stood out as one that could have no expiration. After all, who sets the ‘sell by date’ for excess and abundance when it is in perpetual demand? So we entered a “booth” that was, in fact, a home replete with carpets and sculptures and plates and a bed (even a bathroom); one that resembled the morning after a really heavy night, perhaps after going to sleep to news that a new president had been elected and this was the morning after. But it was far from gloomy. Talk about color and gloss and excess. Whatever it was, it was pretty fantastic. Not an inch of  white wall in sight nor emptiness on the floor.

So what is Toiletpaper you might ask? To those unfamiliar, Toiletpaper is made up of the duo Maurizio Cattalan and Pieorpalo Ferrari: the “Guerilla Boys” of the art world, as curator Francesco Bonami refers to them. Since finding each other, they have created work that abandons their otherwise successful careers as much sought-after artist and fashion photographer (respectively) to create Toilet Paper objects and even a magazine. Needless to say, there is a Toiletpaper world that exists parallel to ours. With Toiletpaper, they satisfy all our morbid desires and question our good taste (or any ounce of it that might be left) with the deluge of information that we are subject to daily. Entering the Beyeler space in the enormous fair, we were confronted with the a dream that, for some, could be a nightmare. Whichever it was, it was a worthy escape from South Beach and the reality that America and the world woke up to just before the fair: post-election doom (now looking more like an apocalypse). So as the art world flocked to Miami to escape, one could escape the art world altogether --and reality as we know it-- via Toiletpaper.
In the Beyeler Toiletpaper room there was no room for passive contemplation: nothing but consumerism, sexuality, and excess. Perhaps it was a sign of the times, as we live them, and a reflection of what we really are and what we are living through as we walked one corridor after the other of Art Basel Miami. “Is this The End”, asked the tombstone by the bed? And was it all really shit and we were living in it? Or were we just reveling in a post-hope place, hoping to rediscover hope --to abandon all is find a glimpse of something at The End. And if that is all a bit too much to take, then learning that every plate on display was made by the Italian porcelain specialist Seletti, and the upholstery and wallpaper by Gufram, and that it was all for sale: that made it all ok.  So like everything else in the fair and in the city that hosts this grand affair, you could have a part of that dream: you just had to buy it. And in the case that you could not, it also didn’t matter because you could experience it and come back and talk about it and share those feelings provoked by seeing mounds and mounds of spaghetti pomodoro oozing out of drawers, in the sink, and just everywhere else. Knowing that, because this exists, because this absurdity is a creation, despite everything going to shit, it will all be ok. That very absurdity is the reality that we live in; that it’s actually kind of funny --albeit a dark kind of funny. And, as we remember that room at Miami Basel, we are reminded that these Toiletpaper guys might actually know a thing or two about what is to come. Toiletpaper as the zeitgeist. Why not? Now let’s have a party.