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Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari

May 31 – July 1, 2012
Billboard next to the High Line at West 18th Street and 10th Avenue

For the High Line, Italian artists Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari have selected an image that at first perfectly blends in with nearby advertisements, but when viewed carefully, encourages a variety of free associations. The image depicts ten female fingers that initially appear to be detached from their hands by mysteriously popping out of a blue velvet background. Like an illusionistic trick performed by a magician, this eerie image highlights the deceptive power of photography, sketching an ambiguous visual tableau reminiscent of Surrealism. Like a Man Ray photograph, the image conjures a dreamlike atmosphere of a film noir, while at the same time it speaks of the city as a projection of dreams of opulence.

Founded by Cattelan and Ferrari in 2010, Toilet Paper is a magazine in pictures without words which investigates our contemporary obsession with images and the way in which commercial photography constructs desire and manipulates our vision. In Cattelan and Ferrari’s carefully constructed photo shoots, the vocabulary of fashion and commercial photography is at the same time celebrated and parodied, by creating what can seemingly be described as advertisement stripped bare of any product.

Photos by Austin Kennedy.

Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari

Maurizio Cattelan (b. 1960, Italy) lives in Milan and New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Foundation Beyeler, Riehen, Switzerland (2013); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2012); the Menil Collection, Houson (2010); the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens (2009); and the Tate Modern, London (2007), among others. A major retrospective of his work was shown at the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2011. He has participated numerous times in the Venice Biennale (1993, 1997, 1999, 2002, and 2009).

Pierpaolo Ferrari (b. 1971, Italy) lives in Milan. As an advertising photographer Ferrari has worked with companies such as Nike, Audi, Mercedes, Samsung, Ray Ban, Alpha Romeo, Vespa, Campari, MTV, and the Venice Biennale, among others. In 2006, together with Federico Pele, he created the art magazine Le Dictateur. Most recently, he has been producing fashion photography with magazines such as Uomo Vogue.


High Line Art is presented by Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. High Line Art is supported by Vital Projects Fund, Inc., and, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. In-kind support provided by Maharam.

Space for High Line Billboard is donated by

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