paola pivi on the ephemeral nature of her feathered bear feet rainbow at massimo de carlo

Apr 25, 2021

all images courtesy of massimo de carlo

‘why not?’ at massimo de carlo hong kong invites the viewer to a joyful, positive exhibition where paola pivi’s universe unfolds. among the works on view are two hanging sculptures, ‘lightening ball’ and ‘my little ball’, which are constructed by the entire current vitra collection of miniature chairs. when lit, the sculptures, which double as lamps, project mesmerizing shadows, the silhouettes of the chairs, all over the walls, allowing the viewer to experience the history of design from an unexpected perspective. the last artwork displayed is ‘I don’t need a title’ from 2008, a wall sculpture made of thousands of plexiglas pearls in different colors inspired by joseph albers. the work is part of the artist’s series made with pearls, and it is characterized by a concentric and geometric design.

designboom (DB): is there a common thread that underpins the works of ‘why not’?

DB: ‘bear foot’, the new body of work on display, marks the most recent development in your colorful, feathered polar bear series. why did you decide to focus on the bear’s feet this time?

DB: among the new works on view are the two hanging sculptures, composed of miniatures chairs by vitra that cast immersive shadows when lit. what are these ‘universes’?

DB: where did your fascination with chair design come from?

PP: vitra miniatures sparked it. I also like designer furniture very much. since we need these items in our homes, why not have the extra research in them?

DB: how did you plan the configuration of each piece?

DB: your work often revolves around miniaturized objects, as in the case of the vitra chair sculptures or the baby polar bear gang, or around oversized ones, like the technicolor ladder at palazzo strozzi. how has your personal narrative informed this play with scale?

DB: your work conveys a sense of optimism to us.

PP: very good.

DB: during the ongoing pandemic, did you change your approach to reality? a slightly different view through ‘a different lens’ that adapts to new scenarios?

PP: yes, I lost hope in human kind. now I know why we have so many wars, disparities, lack of food/waste of food…in my opinion, with this COVID, human beings and countries demonstrated that they cannot cooperate, function and approach a common problem effectively. in this mess I was lucky to be able to carve for myself a way to make a good enough use of the new, hopefully temporary, system, so I myself am suffering less than many others probably. but the system in itself –at least perceiving it from where I am spending these COVID times, in italy, and looking mainly at the western world– appears messed up (besides the highly praised fast result of the vaccines achieved, which seem to be only motivated by business).

PP (continued): the situation of COVID sheds light on other situations of society which are also in a mess, but it has been so for so long that we do not bother investigating into them, we just accept them. I am not saying that all is in a mess in every society everywhere, certain things in certain places work well, often what works here does not work there, but not all things are well arranged. can you imagine the mess if aliens were to come to the planet?

paola pivi, untitled (pearls)(beautiful day), 2015

exhibition info:

name: why not?

artist: paola pivi

gallery: massimo de carlo hong kong

duration: march 25 – may 7, 2021

location: 12 pedder street – 3F pedder building central, hong kong