If Sigmund Freud were to pen his 1919 essay The Uncanny today there’s a good chance that Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s cult magazine Toilet Paper would appear as an example of something that is simultaneously familiar yet alien. Strange and ambiguous to its core, it bends normality in images that take you on a twisted trip through eerily ordinary dream-nightmare scenarios, each jolly-coloured scene creating a sense of “familiarity and disgust”. Everywhere, gleeful perversion lurks just beneath the surface. “Perversion is an almost imperceptible deviance from what is considered normal. It provides a slightly shameful, totally guilty pleasure, which is the most delightful kind. Perversion is the tribute we pay to hidden enjoyments. It’s our weapon against boredom,” say Cattelan and Ferrari.
For this issue’s back section art project, the duo delve into fashion’s inherently fetishistic nature via the clothes of Yohji Yamamoto. “The first time we saw the collection we thought it could be kind of sexy as it was so unsexy,” they say. “It captured our turbid fantasies, matching the fashion industry’s perversion with putting clothes on instead of getting naked.” The result: AW14’s psychedelic cartoon-monster prints and supersized, cocooning coats are transported into surrealist S&M tableaux that allow the viewer to make their own deductions as Cattelan and Ferrari tamper with the dial between reality and fantasy: “The point is entering into direct contact with the unconscious, striking the imagination and triggering visceral reactions.”
Concept and images TOILETPAPER: Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari; styling Robbie Spencer; hair Franco Chessa at WM Management; make-up Lorenzo Zavatta at Face to Face; models Giulia and Camilla Venturini; set design Michela Natella; photographer’s assistants Alberto Zanetti, Leonardo Scotti and Chiara Quadri; styling assistant Loreto Mancini; set design assistant Irene Ghillani; production Federico Delle Piane; production assistant Antonio Ordan; digital technician Silvano Banfi at Studio Santa Veronica; digital post-production Latte+; special thanks to Silk Motel