Paola Pivi: You started it…I finish it

June 20, 2014

This creative installation encompassing eight life-size sculptures of bears, adorned with neon-coloured feathers is currently on display at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Federation Court.

Above image: Paola Pivi Italian 1971– View of the exhibition OK, you are better than me, so what? Galerie Perrotin, New York, 18 September–26 October, 2013 © Paola Pivi, courtesy Galerie Perrotin; Photo: Guillaume Ziccarelli

A sleuth of giant, fluorescent and feathered free-spirited polar bears are currently greeting visitors at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Federation Court in a major suite of new sculptural works by Italian artist Paola Pivi.

Paola Pivi: You started it…I finish it is an installation encompassing eight life-size sculptures of bears, adorned with neon-coloured feathers. These flamboyant figures adopt various attitudes and guises, playfully occupying the space of Federation Court, greeting visitors, posing and frolicking: one bear leaps from a balcony; others approach each other as if to dance, or engage in deep philosophical conversation, while others recline in joyful, carefree abandon.


Sculpted from urethane foam and adorned with psychedelic plumage, Pivi’s carefully modeled figures are each accorded a distinct personality and body language. Together they create a marvelous, enigmatic scene – of baroque excess and surreal desire, recalling fables and fairytales, dreams and allegories, where unexpected forms become strangely familiar and the pleasure principle prevails.

You started it…I finish it continues Pivi’s characteristic playfulness, her interest in narrative, myth and rumour, and the creation of indelible images which echo in the imagination. As with much of her work, You started it…I finish it also invokes an animistic, other-worldly spiritual wonder, coupled with a deep concern about the vulnerability of the natural world.

Paola Pivi: You started it…I finish it is the latest installment of a series of commissions by leading international artists for Federation Court and will be on display in Federation Court at NGV International from 28 May to 31 August 2014. Open 10am–5pm daily, free.

“Federation Court will surprise and delight visitors this winter with the whimsical sculptures of Paola Pivi,” said NGV Director Tony Ellwood. “It provides an opportunity for visitors to view a broad selection of Italian art from the traditional to the contemporary.”

About Paola Pivi

Italian-born artist Paola Pivi lives in and works in Anchorage, Alaska but over the past years has also worked in India. Pivi’s work encompasses bold and striking array of material forms, including sculpture, photography and performance, with a number of her works involving dramatic scenography featuring live animals and people.

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