Pilvi Takala at Centre for Contemporary Arts
Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
April 8 – May 15, 2016
Pilvi Takala provides a major overview of her work of the last ten years in her first solo exhibition in Scotland.
Takala is known for her video works that investigate different social situations and human behaviour. Her rich performative visual art practice takes place mostly where she blends into environments that seemingly have little to do with an artistic reality. From communities of poker players in Thailand, teahouses in Turkey and dance events in Estonia, to a shopping mall in The Netherlands and a boarding school in the US, disguise and infiltration are employed to offer practical stages of public research and response.
One clear example of her tactics as an artist is The Trainee – her month-long project in partnership with Deloitte Helsinki in 2008. With only a few people knowing the true nature of the project, the artist (posing initially as a normalseeming marketing trainee) began to apply peculiar working methods. Gradually shifting her concentration of the job from working to thinking, she started to raise attention within the office of her – at first sight – passive activity. Her traineeship challenged the very basic value of work in a direct office landscape, showing cracks internally within such an environment in parallel to trying to develop artistic responses to such systems. The Trainee will be included in the exhibition at CCA amongst a range of works such as Real Snow White which highlights the strict discipline of Disneyland when Takala – posing as a fan and dressed as Snow White – is banned from entering the park by security; The Angels, where the artist disguises herself as a shop assistant and performs bonafide acts of kindness; Easy Rider, a film made secretly on public transport as a man borrows clothes from a stranger and Event on Garnethill, a publication of a performance that Takala developed while studying at Glasgow School of Art in 2004 in which she dressed up in a local school uniform and spent time on the streets among the school pupils.
Pilvi Takala said: “I consider Garnethill the birthplace of my practice and showing the work that grew out of that simple gesture in CCA now is extremely meaningful. The way I use my own body as a tool for research has evolved in many ways, but it’s always as crucial to choose the right way to dress for each situation.”
Also included in CCA are two of Takala’s award-winning works. Broad Sense focusses on an intervention in the European Parliament which saw questions about dress codes submitted to each member state and the resulting responses printed on nineteen different t-shirts worn by Takala on visits to the Parliament over the course of three days. Broad Sense was awarded the first prize of Prix de Rome Visual Arts 2011.
In 2013, Takala won the Emdash Award, aimed towards production of a new work for Frieze Art Fair, and invited a group of local children to spend her award. They were free to spend the money any way they wanted, and choose how they would formulate decisions as a group. In the resulting film, The Committee, the children explain how they chose to spend the £7,000 prize money and discuss the values which guided their decisions.
CCA Curator Remco de Blaaij said: “Pilvi Takala’s works employ the simple tactics of starting conversations in a way that confronts micro realities. European security, corporate rules and local customs are all challenged to perform what might be expected. What unfolds, however, is a very carefully constructed breakdown of barriers, in order to reveal their actual significance and meaning in our current societies and lives.”
Programmed as part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.
A series of events will accompany this exhibition and will be announced soon.