Paola Pivi, installation view of Ok, you are better than me, so what?,”, 2013.

Paola Pivi

New York

Galerie Perrotin

One might dismiss Paola Pivi’s recent exhibition as a simple, meaningless, and goofy display, but its materiality alone raises such a surfeit of issues and interpretations that it far exceeds the one-liner modus operandi of much conceptual art. Pivi doesn’t state her intention, so maybe a silly, good-natured vision popped into her psychedelic imagination and explanations were dreamed up later, if at all. Eight life-size, day-glow, feathered polar bears cavort, tumble, and stalk; one even leaps overhead. The tableau carries implications. No matter how cute and cuddly the real ones appear, they are wild animals, solitary by nature, fierce, and ferocious—extremely deadly creatures: dangerous beauty. We know polar bears are an endangered species. Most of us have seen photographs in which a lone animal floats on the frigid sea, far from land, stranded on a chunk of arctic ice no larger than a zoo cage. No bear is an island; but conversely, this scene also reminds me of crowds of visitors pressed up against the glass, while a pathetic polar bear sweats out an August afternoon in the Central Park Zoo, listening to seals cheerfully barking at spectators while being tossed another mackerel in reward for their performance. Throw the bear a seal or two, and maybe he’ll do a trick, like not eating one of the hordes of joyfully shrieking human children…see the entire review in the print version of April’s Sculpture magazine.