Many beautiful art-related periodicals are praised as “pieces of art in themselves,” but TOILETPAPER Magazine seems to have taken this project (the creation of an artwork in the form of a periodical) particularly to heart. Founded in 2010 by artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, TOILETPAPER is a magazine for the visually-inclined - the mag never contains text (save for the credits on the back), only images. The images themselves are iconic. Those who know the publication would recognize a TOILETPAPER image from a mile away, so to speak, but wouldn’t necessarily be able to state what exactly is so recognizable about its visual language. The images are often surreal, brightly colored, and feature strange (and sometimes disturbing) interactions between the human body and so-called “man-made” materials. Ferrari calls the complexly orchestrated spreads “tableaux vivants.” Cattelan claims that there is no single visual element that makes a TOILETPAPER image a TOILETPAPER image, but rather “a special twist. An uncanny ambiguity.” The SVA Periodicals Collection is in possession of 12 out of the magazine’s 15 issues.

Cover of Toiletpaper Magazine. Toothpaste falls out of a tube and into an open mouth.
A fried egg, bacon, and some toast are nailed individually to a gingham tablecloth.
A person holds their mouth open using clothes hangers.
A person wearing shrimp on her fingers pokes at a plate with jello on it.
A person wearing a latex suit and eating a banana sits among several blown up animal-shapes balloons.
A spread of various foods on a table.
A rectangle of grass floats above a rectangle of dirt from whence it was presumably cut.