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Open Art

Who’s behind TOILETPAPER: Maurizio Cattelan

“Luckily, we are not trees.”

When Maurizio Cattelan realizes that he’s arrived at a point he no longer likes, he simply changes direction.

Born in Padua in 1960, he began his artistic career in the 80s, gaining fame all over the world for his works that are sometimes real performances, until he became the most cited Italian artist.

His projects are striking for their irreverence, for their out of the ordinary creative flair. One of his most famous works is “La nona ora” (The Ninth Hour) in which Pope John Paul II is struck by a meteorite; “Him” in which Hitler is on his knees intent on praying with emotion in his eyes; and “L.O.V.E” an Italian acronym for Freedom, Hatred, Revenge and Eternity in the Piazza Affari in Milan which is a hand, almost five meters tall, with all the fingers cut off except for the middle one.

In 2010, together with the photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, Maurizio launched TOILETPAPER, a magazine that interweaves an artistic language with that of advertising, and increasingly resembles an actual agency: a development far removed from his work as an artist yet one that totally fascinates him but, at the same time, terrifies him.

Like never before, he needs to stress that he received painting tools a long time ago. It was the most distressing gift of his life because it contained everything he needed for painting, but he didn’t know how to use it. It reminded him of how inadequate he was as a painter.  The tools were there, he wanted to use them, yet he was unable to master them.

TOILETPAPER is a magazine made up entirely of images, without any words and this makes it POP. The power of the images is so strong; they are ingrained into people’s minds and onto their screens, even without asking for permission from the author.
The collaboration with Lavazza is based on this principle: Tiny is small, lively, colorful; Tiny TOILETPAPER Limited Edition will bring a touch of art and creativity to the homes of its consumers, without anyone’s permission.

Speaking of creativity, we asked Maurizio what name he would give to a blend of coffee that stimulates his work, and without hesitation he replied:

“Almost all my works are called ‘Untitled’... I believe that ‘Untitled’ is a beautiful title, even for a blend: everything is left up to the interpretation of those who taste it.”

Before saying goodbye to the “retired” artist, we asked him what job he would like to do if he decided to change profession. He told us that any job would be fine, as long as it allowed him to choose his own schedule. Or at least give him the illusion of being able to choose his own schedule. 


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