Monday, October 01, 2007

"The loo roll that says I love you"

I posted a while back on Stephen Gill's work and his new books.

One other book on the lists of his I had seen is Anonymous Origami, but I hadn't paid too much attention to it (I've never been terribly enamoured of the whole origami thing).

But the other day I came across this from the Guardian - and apparently it's photographs of those fancy folded little ends to the loo (toilet) roll you get in hotels.
Now, part of me thinks that's a brilliant idea and part of me is going "no way am I buying a photo book about bog paper"...

In the hands of your cookie cutter MFA (post) conceptual artists, this might easily have become deadly, but in the end, although Gill may still not quite have hooked me, the idea still makes me smile:

I was sitting on a hotel toilet one day when I noticed that the corners of the toilet roll had been carefully folded to make a neat, symmetrical point. I realised that it wasn't the first time I had seen this. I'd found toilet paper meticulously folded in hotels and B&Bs the world over, as if to some international standard.

It was a depressing thought. All over the planet, there must be thousands of people - chambermaids and cleaners, I imagine - folding toilet paper for guests. But it also struck me as a remarkable detail: a finishing touch, like a sprig of herbs on a dish, or a cherry on top of a cake...

Over the next three years, I carefully ripped off and collected the folded papers I found in all the hotels I stayed in, from Spain to Canada, New York City to Japan, Britain to Romania. I'd place them between the pages of a book (taking care to preserve the folded edge), carry them back to my London studio and keep them in a box. Then I laid them out on a sheet of dark-grey card, and took photographs, using the same camera and light source each time. Each picture is almost exactly the same, but that very uniformity seems to emphasise the subtle differences between them...

I hope some people will find them interesting, even funny. Others may just see folded bits of toilet roll. But I look at them and see the people sat there in hotel rooms around the world, folding the thin paper into shapes, creating symbols of love, even if no love was actually there... more

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