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Beatriz González at KW Institute for Contemporary Art: In Focus Ocula Report Beatriz González at KW Institute for Contemporary Art: In Focus 14 Dec 2018 : Pia Chakraverti-Wuerthwein for Ocula

Retrospective 1965–2017, Beatriz González's exhibition at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (13 October 2018–6 January 2019), presents a selection of 120 works that bear witness to Colombia's political and social upheavals of the last 50 years. Throughout, the link between González's practice and the sociopolitical context it references...

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Ingrid Schaffner Ocula Conversation Ingrid Schaffner Curator, 57th Carnegie International

Founded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie as part of the Carnegie Institute in 1895, Carnegie Museum sought to 'bring the world' to the city with a grand building housing a natural history museum, a library, and an art museum operating as a fluid space for knowledge exchange. In its 123-year history, the institution has built up a world-class...

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Extra States: Nations in Liquidation at Kunsthal Extra City Ocula Report Extra States: Nations in Liquidation at Kunsthal Extra City 8 Dec 2018 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

The nation-state—a nation (a people) presided over by a governing body with jurisdiction over a defined territory (the state)—is either going through a renaissance or demise, depending on one's perspective. There has been talk about the nation-state's end for years—from a 2013 United States National Intelligence Council report...

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Paola Pivi

b. 1971, Italy

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.

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.

Deanna Grayson | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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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
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
Untitled (pearls) by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviUntitled (pearls), 2018 Pink (fuchsia) Japanese plastic pearls, wood
30 x 30 cm
Untitled (pearls) by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviUntitled (pearls), 2017 Yellow plastic pearls on canvas
17 x 17 cm
Lies by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviLies, 2018 Steel, 92 televisions, speaker, plexiglass
122 x 69 cm
Mattresses Installation by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviMattresses Installation, 2018 Mattresses, mattress covers, wood base, metal wires, canvas
395 x 955 cm
Ladder by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviLadder, 2015 Vinyl, blower
2000 x 500 cm
Tell me when you’re ready by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviTell me when you’re ready, 2014 Urethane foam, plastic and feathers
78 x 115 x 205 cm

Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Paola Pivi, Paola Pivi at Perrotin, New York
Recently Added
24 April–9 June 2019 Paola Pivi Paola Pivi Perrotin, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Summer Gallery Highlights at Perrotin, Hong Kong
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
26 August–11 November 2017 Paola Pivi They All Look The Same Perrotin, Tokyo

Represented By

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 commissions,...

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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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