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4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life Ocula Report 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life 15 Feb 2019 : Natalie King for Ocula

'Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.' Marlene Dumas' poetic and sensual refrain accompanies her figurative watercolours on view in Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) in the southern state of Kerala, India (12 December 2018–29 March 2019).Dumas' new series...

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Ellen Altfest Ocula Conversation Ellen Altfest

The paintings of Ellen Altfest are ethereal in their detail. Fields of minutiae come together as pulsating images; small brushstrokes of oil paint accumulate over a series of months to single out seemingly innocuous subjects, such as a hand resting atop patterned fabric (The Hand, 2011) or a deep green cactus reaching upwards from beneath a bed of...

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Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance Ocula Report Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance 8 Feb 2019 : Nada Raza for Ocula

On the rooftop of the former Rio Hotel complex in Colombo, it was hard to ignore the high-rise buildings, still under construction, blocking all but a sliver of what used to be an open view over Slave Island, once an island on Beira Lake that housed slaves in the 19th century, and now a downtown suburb. The hotel was set alight during the...

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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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Untitled (ostriches) * by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviUntitled (ostriches) *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
50 x 70 cm
Perrotin
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
One love * by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviOne love *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
50 x 70 cm
Perrotin
Fffffffffffffffff one * by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviFffffffffffffffff one *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
50 x 70 cm
Perrotin
Untitled (zebras) * by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviUntitled (zebras) *, 2013 Digital print on fine art 100% cotton paper
50 x 70 cm
Perrotin
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
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
Untitled (pearls) by Paola Pivi contemporary artwork Paola PiviUntitled (pearls), 2018 Pink (fuchsia) Japanese plastic pearls, wood
30 x 30 cm
Perrotin

Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Paola Pivi, Paola Pivi at Perrotin, New York
Upcoming
24 April–9 June 2019 Paola Pivi Paola Pivi 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

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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