One of Italy’s most eccentric artists, Paola Pivi has built her artistic practice on absurd projects and apparently impossible ventures carried out with the serious devotion of a scientist and the creative freedom of an unstoppable explorer. Through strategies of displacement and juxtaposition, Pivi has created a parallel universe in which categories, rules, and expectations are constantly subverted and re-invented. In various series of photographs and performances, Pivi has worked with animals to create dreamlike landscapes and fairy tale scenarios, in which disbelief is suspended and reality transformed into a hallucination.
For the High Line, Pivi presents one of her most iconic images, two zebras portrayed on a snowy mountaintop, standing under a deep blue, cloudless sky. This odd tableau questions the viewer’s notion of what is real and what is fake, while at the same time evoking the absolute freedom of making a foolish idea real. Unlike typical advertisements created with computer technology, Pivi’s photographs are all rigorously shot from life: each of her unconventional images is always carefully planned, staged, and photographed in real life.
Photos by Austin Kennedy.