Paola Pivi - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Description

    Playtime: A Vision of Innocence and Eroticism
    Connecting the dots between art and sex, love and eroticism, 'Playtime' spans our Evening (Lot 18) and Day Sales (Lots 180-195), encompassing mediums from painting and sculpture, to prints and photography.


  • Provenance

    Galerie Perrotin, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Galerie Perrotin, Ok, you are better than me, so what?, 18 September - 26 October, 2013

  • Catalogue Essay

    “When I started making art, it did not seem funny at all. Now, the fun is visible. It is like a slow joke.” Paola Pivi
    Quoted in Christine Geyer, ‘Talking with Pink Polar Bears’, Paper City Magazine, 4 June 2016, online).

    Paola Pivi is an Italian-born artist whose work encompasses daring and visually striking range of forms and materials, including sculpture, photography and sculpture. She is most famously known for her sculptures of polychrome polar bears, inspired by a dream in which she was surrounded by a lagoon full of baby bears, eschewing geospecific rational. Each bear is inherently playful and humorous, made from urethane foam and adorned with painstakingly-installed turkey feathers, while suspended in acrobatic lunges or yoga poses. Indeed each sculpture is imbued with a certain sense of innocent spirituality, emphasized by their clever names, which are envisioned by the artist’s partner, Karma Lama, a composer of Tibetan music.

    Conceptually, these bears are a fusion of her two previous places of residence – Anchorage, the picturesque frontier town in the desolate Alaskan tundra, and India, where she was no doubt influenced by the dramatic, kaleidoscopic colours of Holi, the Hindu festival. If Pivi’s work is a reflection of her life’s changing scenery, it is also an expression of her personal narrative with motherhood, having adopted her son, Tenzin, in 2012. The new found surrounding of ‘miniature’ objects filtering into her decision to downsize her bears in her 2019 exhibition, We are the baby gang. The figures however transcend past the artist and into our own conscience, evoking our own experiences and relationships with animals, while reminding us of our own visceral connection with the natural world, in Pivi’s words: “The polar bear’s essence itself is deeply rooted in our brains; think about the teddy bear. If you combine that with the feathers, the vibrant colours, the body language and funny poses, that’s why people love them” (Pivi quoted in Contemporary Art Digest, 20 October 2015, online).

    Fresh from her recent exhibitions at Galerie Perrotin New York, as well as a major show at MAXXI, Rome’s Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Pivi is a undoubtedly a rising star in the international art scene, producing extraordinary images which resonate in the imagination.

Property of an Important Private International Collector


Mama no more diapers, please

urethane, plastic, feathers
121.9 x 158.8 x 99.1 cm. (47 7/8 x 62 1/2 x 39 in.)
Executed in 2013.

HK$500,000 - 700,000 

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020