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23 May 2011

Kunsthalle Lissabon presents Pilvi Takala: Flip side

Pilvi Takala, Real Snow White (2009)

Pilvi Takala: Flip side
Kunsthalle Lissabon


Opening reception: May 26th - 10 p.m. From May 27th to July 2nd Thursday to Saturday: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.


+351 91 2045650

Kunsthalle Lissabon
Rua Rosa Araújo 7 - 9
1250-194 Lisbon

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Kunsthalle Lissabon is pleased to present Flip side, Pilvi Takala's first solo show in Portugal. Flip side will feature two recent works of the artist, The Messengers (2008) and the critically acclaimed Real Snow White (2009).

In Real Snow White, the absurd logic of the 'real character' and the extreme discipline of Disneyland become apparent when a real fan of Disney's Snow White is banned from entering the park in a Snow White costume. As visitors are encouraged to dress up and a lot of costume-like merchandise is sold at the park, the full costumes are only sold for children. The Disney slogan 'Dreams Come True' means dreams produced exclusively by Disney. Anything even slightly out of control immediately evokes fear of the real, possibly dark and perverse dreams coming true. The fantasy of the innocent Snow White doing something bad is so obviously real, that the security guards and management refer to it when explaining why the visitor can't enter the park dressed up as Snow White.

The Messengers is an intervention into Croatian media, more accurately a magazine called Story, specializing in celebrity news and gossip, and its fixation with local celebrity Vlatka Pokos. The basis of the piece is the idea of inverted gossip. Gossip can be any small detail about the life of someone famous as long as it portrays the person in a negative light. Instead of spreading juicy gossip, Takala sets out to report pieces of insignificant but positive acts whose value in scandalous terms is nil, yet when performed by a celebrity become newsworthy. These absurd little news items create a 'rupture' in the traditional tabloid formula through their lack of sensation and by being nothing more than a slightly naïve testament to people caring about each other.

Through these two pieces, Flip side will look at the mechanisms that underly the construction of public personas, either a Disney-owned character that becomes too tangible, thus escaping the corporation's control over collective subjectivities and associated profit, or a Croatian celebrity whose life and actions are defined and understood inasmuch as they are perceived and mediated through gossip magazines. In both cases, these figures are nothing more than fictional constructions, one becoming too real for fictional standards and the other appearing too fictional for reality standards.

Pilvi Takala was born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1981. She lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She received her BA (2005) and MFA (2006) from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. She was a resident artist at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam and at IASPIS, Stockholm. In her work, Takala often uses narrative forms which are based on actions in specific social settings. With subtle interventions the artist creates situations where the unwritten rules and shared truths are revealed, questioned and eventually reinvented. She is interested in looking at the social rules we follow in different situations and finding ways of pushing the limits of our tolerance to create openings, exceptions in everyday life that allow us to see something in a place we thought was empty. A selection of her solo shows include You Canʼt Do What You Canʼt Imagine, Finnish-Norwegian Culture Institute, Oslo, Norway (2010); Real Snow White, Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; The Trainee, Studio K, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland (2009); Real Snow White, Masa-project, Istanbul, Turkey (2009); The Angels, Turku Art Museum, Turku, Finland (2008); Between Sharing and Caring, Frac des Pays de La Loire, Nantes, France (2007). Her work has been featured in several group shows, namely: How to work, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2011); The other tradition, Wiels, Brussels, Belgium (2011); 4th Bucharest Biennial, Romania (2010); And the moral of the story is...Morality Act III, Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2010); Export-Import, Kunsthalle Helsinki, Finland (2010); Nordic Art Triennial, Eskilstuna Art Museum, Sweden (2010); 5th Berlin Biennial, Berlin, Germany (2008); 9th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (2005), amongst many others.

The exhibition Flip Side is generously supported by Ministério da Cultura - DGArtes, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, FRAME – Finnish Fund for Art Exchange and the Finnish Ibero-American Institute.