Curated by Hou Hanru and Anne Palopoli
A gigantic expanse of matresses covering more than 100 square metres, topped by another expanse, identical but overturned to create a padded cave, a narrow space for play or meditation into which the public is invited to climb. At the entrance, suspended above the heads of the public is a dense web of cushions knotted together and coloured in red and yellow. Intense fragrances are diffused in the air from sculptures of minuscule sofas drenched in perfume. The space is totally rethought, large and small confront one another and the works encourage interaction on the part of the public. This is the exhibition PAOLA PIVI. World record, the monographic show that MAXXI, the National museum of 21st century art, is dedicating to this surprising artist, winner of a Golden Lion at the 1999 Venice Biennale.
Conceived specifically for the fluid spaces of the museum, the exhibition presents the imagery of an artist who, through her works, gives life to a new form of reality, ironic and exaggerated, composed of intense contrasts, overwhelming gestures, objects taken from our quotidian existence which acquire a new role, demonstrating other possible ways of interpretations of meaning. Whether they are colossal or minuscule pieces, the engaging works of Paola Pivi change the spirit of the place housing them and activate the senses of visitors, subverting the classical confines between public space and intimacy. The exhibition layout begins under a vast grid of hundreds of soft, intertwined forms suspended in mid-air: Share, but it’s not fair (2012), a work composed of yellow and red cushions, made with the fabrics of Tibetan monks’ tunics, forms an abstract and simultaneously three-dimensional pattern. “The title is like the lament of a child obliged to share an ice cream when he really didn’t want to”, says the artist, "Walking under the great expanse of cushions is enchanting, it’s like exploring a magical world.”