The arid, warm landscape of Australia is where you would least expect to see a polar bear. So prepare to be surprised when you head to the National Gallery of Victoria and are greeted by a sleuth of giant fluorescent polar bears – all sculpted by Italian artist Paola Pivi. You started it…I finish it is an installation encompassing eight life-size sculptures of bears, adorned with neon-coloured feathers. Pivi’s work encompasses a bold and breathtaking array of material forms, including sculpture, photography and performance, with a number of her works involving dramatic scenographies featuring live animals and people.
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, whilst 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 delightfully surreal scene, recalling fables and fairytales, dreams and allegories, where unexpected forms become strangely familiar.
You started it…I finish it runs until 31 August.
National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006, Australia
Images courtesy of the artist and Galerie Perrotin.