Oh Maurizio! What have you done in Paris?
Cheeky artist Maurizio Cattelan fills Galeries Lafayette with an inflatable and rather suggestive Eiffel Tower
No one would mistake Maurizio Cattelan for a placard-waving revolutionary. The Italian artist – or perhaps that should be former artist, as Cattelan claims to have retired in 2011 – “is not a social activist,” explains the writer and curator Francesco Bonami in our Contemporary Artist Series book on Cattelan. “He uses the social contradictions as pure material for his work; he is not shy in exploiting his material as an open studio with all its injustices, dilemmas, violent and dramatic realities. He does not indulge in any analysis of in the attempt to find a solution; he is one of the many players of the social game. In one way or another his goal is to survive or, even better, to win.”
Nowhere is this satirical playfulness more apparent than in Toilet Paper, the magazine and art direction concern Cattelan co-founded in 2010 with the commercial photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. Toilet Paper’s images have all the trappings of an advertisement, while, simultaneously undermining any hard sell. Not that this has stopped the likes of fashion house Kenzo, commissioning campaign images from Cattelan and Ferrari.
Earlier this year Galeries Lafayette, the chic Parisian department store on Boulevard Haussmann, invited the pair to install a series of artworks to celebrate summer. They fitted their own consumer-friendly environment, TP-Rama into Lafayette’s in-store gallery, Galerie des Galeries, oversaw window displays, and fitted a huge, inflatable, phallic looking Eiffel Tower into the department store’s glass cupola.
The works, most of which remain on display until the end of August, might not necessarily increase sales, it certainly gives Parisians a good reason to stay in town this summer.
For greater insight into this infamous, engaging contemporary artist order a copy of our Contemporary Artist Series book Maurizio Cattelan.