Rockbund Art Museum is very proud to present the first major solo show in China of the
acclaimed international artist Paola Pivi with her latest outstanding installations and new
productions. Born in Italy in 1971, the artist Paola Pivi works and lives in Anchorage, Alaska.
Very productive in the international contemporary art scene since 1995, her paintings,
installations, performances, photographs, videos are all inspired by an art of making upside down
The artist produces works that comes from pre-existing ordinary materials and living creatures but
the way she puts them into conjunction creates very extraordinary situations, unusual and
enigmatic environments: paintings blooming into amazing colored pearls sculptures, ribbons
standing as powerful minimalist installations, zebras photographed in the snow, food or cosmetic
colored liquids forming monochromatic paintings and sculptures.
Paola Pivi likes to generate ambiguous and contradictory feelings like lightness and weight,
smoothness and violence, warm and cold, seriousness and absurdity, singularity and mass. As is
often the case in Paola Pivi’s exhibitions, narration is not straightforward. The first impression of
strong visual surprise gives way to an analysis that leads the viewer into an atypical, absurd,
bizarre and extravagant world. The artist likes to create improbable situations, to be experienced
and experimented with. Anything becomes possible.
Paola Pivi’s solo show at Rockbund Art Museum will comprise three impressive installations, one
large outdoor drawing on billboard, and a selection of photograph, pearl painting and lamps,
which offer original and critical views on formatted topics about our contemporary world.
Criticality in Pivi’s work does not come out from a direct sociological or political attitude but it is
powerfully activated through the permanent question of how picture has the power to subvert what
we name reality – society, gender, cultural identity – into an alienated space for representation. So
the artist does not pretend to represent neither to comment the existing world, she really wants to
subvert the world into anomalistic situations which could open to more critical approaches about
our daily representations and to our potential for more powerful and creative visions. In this way,
she cleverly captivates the eyes and the cultural backgrounds of any Asian and Western viewer by
putting into question any pretentiousness of Truth about our general representations of the
To exhibit Paola Pivi’s work into an Asian and Chinese art context is also particularly relevant
because her images are always asking for more demanding articulation between images and social
content. In an art context where the majority of the artists are rushing into social topics, Pivi’s
strategy is radically different: it is the intrusion of an anomalistic image into the social sphere
which will overturn reality into new representations and will offer the visitor to experience a
Paola Pivi’s works are the outcome of weird yet extremely precise, cogent orderings of things:
representations are striking in terms not only of their shape, color and lighting, but above all by
their capacity to assert themselves as lightning-like intrusions into reality – with no narrative
gambit, no symbolic justifications, and no metaphorical or allegorical convolutions. In other
words, the art of Paola Pivi systematically gambles on images with the power to be more real than
any other reality. Or to put it another way: the image is fantasy within reality.