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Sandrine Colard on the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale Ocula Conversation Sandrine Colard on the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the largest Francophone nation in Africa with vast resources and nearly 80 million inhabitants, is a place where commodities play a vital role in the national economy and the country's significance on the world stage. This is the context from which the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale (24 October–24 November...

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52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS Symposium Brings Ideas Offline Ocula Report
In collaboration with Artspace Sydney
52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS Symposium Brings Ideas Offline 13 Dec 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

From 20 to 21 July 2019, Artspace Sydney held a two-day symposium that brought artists in conversation with leading curators, writers, activists, academics, diplomats, and journalists from across Asia. The symposium was the final chapter of the 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS exhibition, publication, website, and Instagram project. Instigated and...

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We Are Our Infrastructure, Argues Newly Announced Shanghai Biennale Chief Curator Ocula News We Are Our Infrastructure, Argues Newly Announced Shanghai Biennale Chief Curator 13 December 2019

The Power Station of Art will make a fitting location for Andrés Jaque, whose past projects expose the politics concealed by buried pipes and managed cables. Spanish architect, writer, and curator Andrés Jaque has been named the chief curator of the 13th Shanghai Biennale, which will take place at the Power Station of Art (PSA) from 13 November...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy. Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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HomePage Artists

b. 1971, Italy

Paola Pivi Biography

Displacing and re-contextualising familiar objects into unusual settings, artist Paola Pivi channels a sense of playfulness and comedy through her sculptures, photographs and installations.

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Pivi originally set out to be an engineer. However, when she was in her 20s, she was encouraged to pursue art full-time by a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan. Following what she believed would provide both excitement and satisfaction, the artist began paying close attention to the subconscious visions she had of ordinary things in impossible places.

Pivi's first shown artworks in the late 1990s demonstrated a fascination with turning industrial objects into things of beauty. Among these were Camion (1997)—an 18-wheeler semi-trailer truck turned on its side—and Untitled (airplane) (1999)—a Fiat G-91 fighter jet flipped upside down, presented in her installation at the Venice Biennale that won the coveted Golden Lion award later that year. 'What I'm doing is manipulating things that people think can't be manipulated', the artist explained to the Observer in 2012. Continuing the motif of the defunct airplane, Pivi displayed How I Roll—a spinning Piper Seneca plane—in Central Park in New York City in 2012.

Pivi believes that every human being has a memory of a past when we were closely connected with animals. Beginning with her 2003 artwork Untitled (Ostriches), the artist began using animals to create scenes that often only hold up in the realm of fantasy, such as putting living goldfish on airplanes, zebras on snowy mountains, and a leopard in a room with 3,000 cappuccino cups. Pivi commemorates the absurd staged events with photographs or live performances, allowing her daydreams—or nightmares, depending on the viewer—to be presented in exhibition spaces.

In many ways, the animals that often feature in Pivi's work seem human-like, their anthropomorphism revealing commonality between man and beast. However, Pivi reminds viewers that this kinship has been eviscerated in our attempts to conquer what scares us and exert the authority of man over nature. Splayed fake bear skin rugs—as seen in What goes round—art comes round (2010)—and feathered urethane foam polar bears that appear to have been taxidermied—as seen in Mama no more diapers, please (2013)—function as visually evocative depictions of our forced dominance: a vulgar chew at our relatives as we resist their upper hand.

Over the years that she has been working, Pivi has remained intent on surprising the viewer. For instance, Thank You ocean (2003)—a work composed of multi-layered strings of pearls inspired by time she spent living in Shanghai—demonstrates the artist's creative use of texture and a material associated with wealth and opulence. The pearls also provoke a desire to touch and to feel—a craving associated with infantile behaviour of fearless sensory exploration.

Pivi has exhibited her work internationally and has been collected by important art institutions around the globe, including solo exhibitions at The Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, Florida, and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia. Pivi's work can be found in the collections of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, among others.

Biography by Deanna Grayson | Ocula | 2018

Paola Pivi Featured Artworks

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One cup of cappuccino then I go * by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork
Paola PiviOne cup of cappuccino then I go *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
50 x 70 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work
One love * by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork
Paola PiviOne love *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
50 x 70 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work
Fffffffffffffffff one * by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork
Paola PiviFffffffffffffffff one *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
50 x 70 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work
Untitled (zebras) * by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork
Paola PiviUntitled (zebras) *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
50 x 70 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work
I am a professional bear by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork
Paola PiviI am a professional bear, 2017 Urethane foam, plastic, feathers
244 x 102 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work
I'm a bear, so what? by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork
Paola PiviI'm a bear, so what?, 2012 Digital print mounted on dibond. Photography by Attilio Maranzano
165 x 125 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work
Untitled (pearls) by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork
Paola PiviUntitled (pearls), 2018 Pink (fuchsia) Japanese plastic pearls, wood
30 x 30 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work
Untitled (pearls) by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork
Paola PiviUntitled (pearls), 2017 Yellow plastic pearls on canvas
17 x 17 cm
Perrotin Enquire about this work

Paola Pivi Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Paola Pivi, We are the baby gang at Perrotin, New York
Closed
25 April–9 June 2019 Paola Pivi We are the baby gang Perrotin, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Summer Gallery Highlights at Perrotin, Hong Kong
Closed
21 July–8 September 2018 Group Exhibition Summer Gallery Highlights Perrotin, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Paola Pivi, They All Look The Same at Perrotin, Tokyo
Closed
26 August–11 November 2017 Paola Pivi They All Look The Same Perrotin, Tokyo

Paola Pivi Represented By

Paola Pivi In Related Press

A Permanent Plinth for New Art Coming to the High Line Related Press A Permanent Plinth for New Art Coming to the High Line The New York Times : 11 January 2017

London has its Fourth Plinth, where contemporary artists have graced — and sometimes goaded — viewers in Trafalgar Square with sculptural work on a bare pedestal originally intended for an equestrian statue of William IV. Now New York will have its own plinth, a highly visible permanent stage for ambitious new international sculpture...

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An uncanny world of manipulated animals and machines Related Press An uncanny world of manipulated animals and machines Hyperallergic : 16 August 2016

In 2007, Italian artist Paola Pivi brazenly preempted her audience’s response to a work by titling it, If you like it, thank you. If you don’t like it, I am sorry. Enjoy anyway.  The name suggests that viewers are able to enjoy the piece regardless of how they judge it. Indeed, Pivi’s often spectacular work is easy to...

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