SURREALIST SUMMER: The event had no prior publicity — due to current security restrictions in Paris — and the stars of the show, French Touch duo Cassius, arrived half-an-hour late, having missed their plane from Ibiza and zipping down the freeway to jump straight on stage.
Nevertheless, the launch of experimental art magazine Toilet Paper’s summer installation at Galeries Lafayette’s Boulevard Haussmann flagship drew quite a crowd into the store’s entrance Thursday evening.
Among them, Toilet Paper cofounder Pierpaolo Ferrari bopped away, summoning the audience to do the conga across the stage. Dancers in gorilla costumes and gold lamé boogied against the tropical-themed backdrop, while Galeries Lafayette’s store attendants were decked out in gold outfits and bright red bobbed wigs for the occasion, all in reference to the offbeat “Ibifornia” world Toilet Paper created for the clip for Cassius’ latest single, “Action.”
In their first collaboration with a department store, Toilet Paper’s founders, the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Ferrari, created 11 store-window installations, which will be on show until July 27.
“Galeries Lafayette gives us a good opportunity to bring our vision to Paris,” said Cattelan. “We started Toilet Paper four years ago when I decided to retire from art. Now I’m back,” he said without divulging more when pressed for further details. He was sporting a boxer short, sneakers and glasses in the French colors. “We’re looking forward to watching the game tomorrow,” he said referring to the France-Germany match of the UEFA Euro 2016 soccer tournament.
The associated TP-Rama exhibition in the store’s Galerie des Galeries space, which is set to run through Sept. 10, comprises surrealistic roomlike installations featuring everyday objects created in collaboration with Italian design firms Gufram and Seletti that visitors can purchase to take home. Peppered throughout the store, meanwhile, are photo stations where visitors can take snaps with a cheesy “head in the hole” background.
Guests at the event included Xavier Veilhan, 2015 Hyères Festival winner Annelie Schubert, Pedro Winter and Jean-Paul Lespagnard.
“I went to New York to see his retrospective at the Guggenheim museum when he had decided to retire,” said Lespagnard. The Belgian designer praised Cattelan’s “twisted view on our daily lives” and his attention to details. “In the bedroom, there are pillows that are cross-stitched,” he noted.
And in case Galeries Lafayette’s shoppers might miss the themed installation elsewhere in store, a giant blow-up Eiffel Tower complete with suggestively positioned ball-shaped appendages features in pride of place under the store’s historic cupola.
Lespagnard saw in it a reference to Paul McCarthy’s Tree sculpture on Place Vendôme that caused a controversy here two years ago. “It’s clearly a penis,” Lespagnard said about the giant blow-up.