We are constantly surrounded, especially during fashion week, by pretty things we can look at but not touch. Wouldn't it be nice to actually interact with the beautiful things around us without trepidation? Wouldn't it be nice, when New York's real estate market has never been hotter and we have an uncooked orange sponge cake as the leader of the free world, to forget everything and play house? Yes, yes it would.
For the next two months Visionaire and Toilet Paper have created an interactive art show – that doubles as a funhouse-esque apartment and decor store – where you can touch and play as much as you like. Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari's Toilet Paper, is the picture-based publication that subverts all the pretentiousness out the magazine industry and now, they're doing the same for the gallery experience.
Yet somehow the pseudo-apartment feels totally plausible. You feel as though you could walk into your friend's quirky, antique-enthusiast boyfriend's Bushwick apartment and be greeted with the exact same aesthetic. There is no right or wrong interpretation, which according to Visionaire's Cecilia Dean and James Kaliardos, is exactly how we should know art to be. Also – just like everything else we know – it's all for sale.
There's something that feels very rare about the degree to which you can engage in this exhibition. I feel like everyone treats art with such deference.
James: It's so great that you can touch it and be in it and lie on it. There's so much you can do in the space.
Cecilia: Art is intimidating. When something is interactive no one knows so we have to remind people to have fun with it.
So, more than anything, the exhibition should be approached with humour? What do you take away from it?
James: It is, but like everything, it has layers. Everything is funny and everything is meaningful.
Cecilia: It's not over-intellectualized. Also you could buy it all, so someone could actually live like this. You can use all of this stuff in your everyday life
What do you take away from it?
Cecilia: I'm totally feeling like this is the visual manifestation of the anguish that we're all going through right now. It feels insane.
James: It's also very instagrammable.
That has to be the most accurate summation of 2017 I've heard. Everything's shit, might as well make pretty things.
Cecilia: Exactly. Channel the angst into a selfie.
Toilet Paper Paradise will show until April 12 at The Gallery at Cadillac House.
All images by Plamen Petkov