Magnum photographer Martin Parr has been working with the minds behind the publication Toiletpaper – Maurizio Catellan and Pierpaolo Ferrari – since 2018, when they released the special ToiletMartin PaperParr edition of their offbeat art magazine. That issue saw Parr’s photographs paired and juxtaposed with images made by Cattelan and Ferrari.
The same approach has been taken with ToiletMartin PaperParr, a new near-200 page book of the same name, published by Damiani. 120 arresting, surreal, and ‘high impact’ images from the artists find themesleves alongside eachother in its pages.
Here, Catellan answers some very quick questions about working with Parr, and the temptation of kicking him in the balls…
Toilet Paper has worked with Martin for some time now. What is it about Martin’s work that attracted you to him as a creative partner? Is it the aesthetic, his approach, or both?
We have a love/hate relationship but when all is said and done Martin is like a brother for us that sometimes you admire and sometimes you would like to kick in the balls. Sharing imagery and obsessions with him is an exciting challenge.
How does the image selection process take place? Do you and Pierpaolo browse Martin’s archive, or does he suggest images he thinks will amuse you, and provoke a visual reaction from your own archive?
ToiletMartinPaperParr is a very erratic brotherhood: you know when you start, and the only way to know that you finished is because you have to clean your hands, which are so dirty that you don’t know where they have been.
What is the attraction of presenting one’s work facing – either in contrast to or in concert with – another’s? Is it the pleasure of giving existing work and images a second life in this new context?
Once Helmut Newton said that if you want to walk fast, walk alone; if you want to walk far, walk together. Well, we took this on board and even though we are two very independents spirits, and we wanted to go our own ways, the wyse side of the team decided to go for a stroll together in the park and set off together.
You and Pierpaolo famously toy with the imagery of advertising and commerciality, and Martin’s work has over the decades looked at the way we spend our money and time – do you see a connection in that sense, a wry look at the strangeness of humans, and how we choose to enjoy ourselves?
…and you forgot to mention our passion for spaghetti, sausages and cupcakes, eggs, würstel, etc.
Do you find it reassuring or worrying that Martin can capture images as surreal, absurd, or comic in real life as yours are in fiction?
If Martin didn’t exist we would have to invent him. Finding Martin was like finding another part of ourselves: we always had this feeling that we were twins divided at birth, that we’ve grown up in different environments, and that we finally reunited under the umbrella of the same publisher.