Museum  October 12, 2018  Megan D Robinson

Paola Pivi's Alternate Universe

Courtesy the artist and Dallas Contemporary

Paola Pivi, Untitled (donkey), 2003. Photographic print, aluminum, frame.

Courtesy the artist and Dallas Contemporary. Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Paola Pivi: Ma’am, April 16 – August 21, 2016, Dallas Contemporary. Installation view.

Paola Pivi has created her own surreal world for her exhibition Art with a view, opening October 13 at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami. Showcasing both new and familiar works across multiple genres, from sculpture and photography to installation and performance art, Pivi’s work combines the ordinary and the extraordinary, juxtaposing the expected with the unexpected. 

A 65-foot, rainbow-striped inflatable ladder welcomes visitors to the Bass, leaning against a wall at the museum’s entrance. Brightly colored, feathered polar bears lounge around the gallery space, while a musk ox emerges from a conical hill the same color as its fur. Pivi’s large photographs of real animals in fantastical situations adorn the gallery walls. A group of strangely diverse white animals, from kittens and pigs to ducks and llamas, converge in an alpine meadow, evoking an Edenic paradise, where species’ instinctive distrust is void, and lions lay down with lambs. A pensive donkey stands alone in a blue motorboat on the Mediterranean Sea. The dreamlike unreality is only increased by a video of 24 goldfish, their bowls belted into passenger seats on a flight to New Zealand. Pivi expertly creates a stunning new dimension, where reality is open to interpretation.

Paola Pivi, One love, 2007
Courtesy the artist and Perrotin

Paola Pivi, One love, 2007. Photographic print, aluminum.

Paola Pivi: Ma’am, April 16 – August 21, 2016, Dallas Contemporary
Courtesy the artist and Dallas Contemporary. Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Paola Pivi: Ma’am, April 16 – August 21, 2016, Dallas Contemporary. Installation view.

Paola Pivi: Ma’am, April 16 – August 21, 2016, Dallas Contemporary. Installation view.
Courtesy the artist and Dallas Contemporary. Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Paola Pivi: Ma’am, April 16 – August 21, 2016, Dallas Contemporary. Installation view.

Paola Pivi: Ma’am, April 16 – August 21, 2016, Dallas Contemporary. Installation view.
Courtesy the artist and Dallas Contemporary. Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Paola Pivi: Ma’am, April 16 – August 21, 2016, Dallas Contemporary. Installation view.

Paola Pivi: Ma’am, April 16 – August 21, 2016, Dallas Contemporary. Installation view.
Courtesy the artist and Dallas Contemporary. Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli.

Paola Pivi: Ma’am, April 16 – August 21, 2016, Dallas Contemporary. Installation view.

The exhibition includes two new works, a large, mattress-like structure visitors can crawl through, and a new iteration of Pivi’s Lies, installed here as a room with 92 flat-screen TVs covering the walls, floor and ceiling, displaying images of reality while an audio track plays recorded lies such as, "It snows in Miami 50 days out of the year."

Originally from Milan, Italy, Pivi (b.1971), is nomadic in nature and considers Anchorage, Alaska to be her permanent home. On the occasion of  Art with a view at The Bass, she relocated to Miami Beach, prior to that, she lived in Italy and India. 

In 2012, Pivi was commissioned to create two original public artworks in New York City. She has had numerous solo exhibitions, and has work in the collections of the Guggenheim and the Centre Pompidou.

Art with a view is at the Bass until March 10, 2019.

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.