Paola Pivi’s artistic practice is diverse and enigmatic. Her oeuvre appears to have been formed through multiple creative minds. Each piece poses questions and is defined by its openness to interpretation. She appropriates cultural symbols and transforms them in an art context.
In 1997, as a student, Paola Pivi placed a truck on its side as part of the exhibition Fuori Uso (Pescara, Italy). Two years later, she installed an upside-down G-91 fighter jet in the Venice Biennale’s Arsenale, helping Italy win the coveted Golden Lion award for best national pavilion. In subsequent years, she has invited horses to the Eiffel Tower and a leopard to roam amongst cappuccino cups—documenting the experience through photography.
Such ambitious and spectacular acts have come to define her art. These gestures are about freedom. They deliver unexpected visuals, which surprisingly also appear to be familiar. Included in the exhibition are Pivi’s anthropomorphic feather-covered polar bears; canvases of cascading pearls; video showing fish in flight on a passenger jet; and a 65-foot inflatable ladder.
Nomadic by nature, Paola Pivi has lived in many unexpected places in the world, including the remote island of Alicudi in southern Italy, India, and Anchorage, Alaska. She is presently in Milan, Italy. Pivi first exhibited at Viafarini in Milan in 1995, the same year she enrolled in the Brera Academy of Art in Milan. In 2012, the artist was commissioned to create two original public artworks in New York City: “How I roll”, a project by Public Art Fund, a Piper Seneca airplane lifted on its wingtips and constantly rotating forward, installed near Central Park at Doris C. Freedman Plaza, and “Untitled (zebras)”, a striking image of zebras on a snow-covered mountaintop on the 25-by-75-foot High Line Billboard at West 18th Street. Like all of her photographs, this image is a live-action still, presented without digital intervention. Another of her photographs, “Untitled (donkey)”, shows a lonely donkey on a boat floating in the Mediterranean Sea. Pivi is included in the permanent collections of The Guggenheim Museum and the Centre Pompidou.
Paola Pivi (b. 1971, Milan, Italy) has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including I did it again, SCAD, Savannah (2018), I am tired of eating fish, curated, La Rinascente, Italy (2017), Ma’am, Dallas Contemporary, Texas (2016), Tulkus 1880 to 2018, FRAC Bourgogne, France (2014), You started it … I finish it, National Gallery of Victoria, Australia (2014), Tulkus 1880 to 2018, Witte de With, Netherlands (2013), Share, But It’s Not Fair, Rockbund Art Museum, China (2012), How I roll, Public Art Fund, New York (2012), It’s a cocktail party, Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (2008), and It just keeps getting better, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2007). Pivi has exhibited internationally at institutions including Stad Kortrijk, Belgium, Anchorage Museum, Alaska, Fondazione Prada, Italy, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Germany, Whitechapel Gallery, United Kingdom, Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Italy, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden, MOMA PS1, New York, and the XLVIII Biennale di Venezia, Italy.