Under / Over
Exhibition catalog for "Under/Over," a group exhibition of 50+ Toilet Paper Holders mounted online and at Marta from September 10 to November 01, 2020.
The bathroom is a place of social and environmental politics. 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 funneled millions of dollars into voter suppression, the aiding and growth of the Prison Industrial Complex, and the reversal of common-sense environmental protections.
In the early 1900s, after centuries of wiping variously with stones, sponges, sea-shells, and corn cobs, the West began using toilet paper made of virgin tree pulp, chlorine, and a host of other toxic chemicals. The statistics of this ongoing practice are appalling: 27,000 trees flushed down the world’s toilets each day; 37 gallons of clean water (and over a gallon of bleach, formaldehyde, and other chemicals) per roll. Big T.P. companies have been decimating the environment for decades as they turn old-growth tree pulp into a product that most people use absentmindedly for a matter of seconds each day.
Any hope for reversing the effects of this convention hinges on altering our relationship to toilet paper and its dispensing mechanisms. “Under / Over” hosted a diverse group of international participants, resulting in an exhibition that merged function and delight, prizing a seemingly humble piece of hardware that we invariably interact with every day and, in so doing, perhaps prompting a subtle shift in this particular paradigm.
Participating artists, designers, and studios include 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, and Zaven.
With an essay by Jessica Leigh Holder
Edited and published by Marta, 2020
Limited edition of 500 copies
Softcover, saddle-stitch binding, 156 pages, full color, 6 × 10 inches