50+ toilet paper holders: between collectible design and environmental politics

Over fifty designers and artists from all over the world have been called by the Los Angeles gallery Marta to reinterpret one of the most used but forgotten objects in the design world.

“Private is political”, a well-known slogan from the 1960s, has recently returned to be a pivotal point in the bottom-up struggle against climate change. The exhibition “Under / Over”, which the Los Angeles gallery Marta promotes in collaboration with the company Plant Paper until November 1, 2020, seems to start from this motto.

“The restroom is a place of social and environmental politics,” says the gallery. The exhibition focuses on the most private of domestic environments and the most private of our habits, relating them to one of the most pressing issues of our time.

"Under / Over", exhibition view, Marta, Los Angeles, 2020
"Under / Over", exhibition view, Marta, Los Angeles, 2020

“A single company, owned by Koch Industries, controls 29% of the tissue paper market in North America. With the purchase of fluffy, plastic-wrapped, bleach-white rolls, many Americans are unwittingly aiding in the politically-conservative efforts of conglomerates like Koch Industries, which has funnelled millions of dollars into voter suppression, the aiding and growth of the Prison Industrial Complex, and the reversal of common-sense environmental protections,” say the exhibition organisers.

According to some studies, around 27,000 trees are “flushed down the toilet” every day in the world; for each roll of toilet paper 140 litres of clean water and around 4 litres of bleach, formaldehyde and other chemicals are consumed.

"Under / Over", exhibition view, Marta, Los Angeles, 2020
"Under / Over", exhibition view, Marta, Los Angeles, 2020

To focus on this issue linking design and environmental politics, the gallery has called more than 50 international designers to produce a toilet paper holder.

These are works that combine function and enjoyment, objects that we use daily but that the design world seems to have forgotten, or even rejected. If you can find infinite variations of the chair, it is almost impossible to find custom toilet paper holders.

The world of the bathroom is perhaps the home environment that most resists transformation and domestic experimentation. “Under / Over” is also interesting because it brings it closer to the growing collectible design movement.

In collaboration with:
Plant Paper
1934, A History of Frogs, Joseph Algieri, Another Human, AOO Studio, Ryan Belli, Erik Benjamins, BNAG, Marco Campardo Studio, Daniel Castillo, Chen Chen + Kai Williams, Bradley Duncan, Daniel Eatock, Dean Edmonds, Max Enrich, Klas Ernflo, Martino Gamper, Ross Hansen, Tyler Hays (BDDW), Brooke Intrachat, Serban Ionescu, Sam Jayne, Doug Johnston, Pat Kim, Carlos Little, Lland, Sabine Marcelis, Nifemi Marcus-Bello, Michael Marriott, Theo Martins, MOS Architects, Matt Olson (OOIEE), Taidgh O’Neill, Fredrik Paulsen, Jorge Penadés, James Sterling Pitt, Playlab, Ryan Preciado, Alex Reed, Adrien Rovero Studio, Mansi Shah, Peter Shire, Spiritual Objects, Jonah Takagi, Terremoto, Three Sheep, Brendan Timmins, Visibility, Waka Waka, Kristen Wentrcek + Andrew Zebulon, WeShouldDoItAll, Wrk–Shp, Zaven
Opening dates:
until 1 November 2020
1545 W Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles

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