Perrotin Tokyo is proud to present a solo exhibition by Paola Pivi, coinciding with her participation in the Yokohama Triennale. This is the Italian artist’s eighth solo show with the gallery, after Paris, Miami, and New York, and the second exhibition held at Perrotin Tokyo inaugurated last June.
The series of artworks Paola Pivi presents in Tokyo exemplifies her phantasmagorical and unbridled world, “as beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table,” as Lautréamont would say. Here, polar bears and feathered wheels live in lighthearted harmony, almost floating in a space that looks out over the city and attracts the glances of passers-by. The work of Paola Pivi is undisputedly compelling, leaving no one indifferent. Her series of multicolored bears had already captivated viewers at the “Ok, you are better than me, so what?” exhibition for the opening of Perrotin New York.
Once again, Pivi’s bears put on a show, striking poses and playing with the space that opens onto the exterior of the gallery. One extra-large polar bear—the biggest ever made by Pivi—is caught mid-air as if it had just boldly leaped into the void, while another is pointing down in a fearless dive. The bears are covered with feathers in a range of colors from white to electric blue. Massimiliano Gioni describes the spectacular nature of Pivi’s work in these terms: “Paola Pivi’s work moves to the fevered beat of a Carnival party. And in fact, she has often thought of her work as a kind of festivity.” The impression of movement is accentuated by a series of wall-mounted wheels in motion, captivating metal creations adorned with natural feathers. “They all look the same”—for that is the name of the new series— are artworks specially made for the exhibition with feathers sourced in Japan. Evoking in turn the wheel of a peacock’s tail, Native American dream catchers, Marcel Duchamp’s bicycle wheel, or a hypnotic pendulum, Pivi’s wheels offer a minimalist counterpoint to the feathered bears on display.
The very placement of Pivi’s installations is central to her creative process, boldly moving beyond the conventional codes of practice for staging exhibitions. Massimiliano Gioni writes, “In her installations, as in her choice of certain colors and essences, Paola Pivi adopts the chilly esthetic of product display. Rather than as installations, Paola Pivi’s pieces could be better described as simulations […] the confusion is not between art and non-art, but between the real and the possible, between truth and hallucination.”
Paola Pivi invites us to a joyful show that seems to pay no heed to any principles of reality or laws of gravity, true to her epicurean vision of creation. As Jens Hoffmann4 explains, “The task of constructing symbolic importance is one that viewers self-assign […] The childlike awe inspired by Pivi’s pieces is not always embroiled in such contention; sometimes it’s just about wonder.”
Proposing “an implied collective”, Pivi’s works appeal to our personal experience, our perceptions, our imagination, as opposed to a rational logic. Absurd but above all free, nature revisited by the artist affords a radical, parodying vision of our contemporary artifacts—objects, animals or similar creatures—within a strange and magical, topsy-turvy world.