'we are the baby gang,' playful polar bears that grew feathers to beat climate change
 

'we are the baby gang,' playful polar bears that grew feathers to beat climate change

on the top floor of galerie perrotin in new york, seventy baby polar bears cartwheel and cuddle. they were created and positioned precisely by their artist-mother, paola pivi. with no concern for anything but elation, her little bears dance and swing though the air, flashing their colorful fluorescent feathers, like a crowded forest of can-caning carnivores. what does it mean? who are they? do they need us or do we need them? well, of course we need them, they’re the baby gang…and they might just need us, too.

paola pivi
installation view | photo by attilio maranzano
all images courtesy of paola pivi and perrotin

 

 

this isn’t paola pivi’s first multi-colored, feather-covered bear installation. she’s made much larger, full-scaled bears plenty of times before, taking one-parts inspiration from india — where she lived and breathed in the kaleidoscopic visual-diet that drifts brightly through every street corner of the country — and one-parts inspiration from her previous home, alaska. alaska’s color palette is not india’s. unless staring directly into the aura lights, the land is single-toned and minimal, but its also home to a host of extraordinary, if not mythical creatures. combine that mystery with a vibrant, indian palette and we can begin to see the world this baby gang rolls around in.

paola pivi
installation view | photo by attilio maranzano

 

 

this baby gang lives in a world that rejects geospecificity. the tenacious, mystical beings even evolved feathers to fight for survival against melting polar ice caps. but these bears aren’t even bears yet. they’re still just babies. ‘like the majority of her work,’ says curator and writer justine ludwig, ‘we are the baby gang also draws from pivi’s personal narrative. specifically, the aesthetics of parenthood. she is inspired by miniaturized objects that began to populate her surroundings when her son came into her life— shoes fit in the palm of one’s hand, toys are the world made small and reimagined in electric tonalities. when pivi became a mother the objects around her began to shrink in size to fit to needs of her son. she came to occupy the world in miniature. everything is made cute and precious. it is a constant reminder of precariousness and responsibility. like a human child, the baby bears, even in their ferocity, need protection.’

paola pivi
installation view | photo by attilio maranzano

 

 

together, the baby bears at perrotin play a role they are seemingly unaware of. with every yoga pose they nail and every cartwheel they fail, their innocent, gallery-penthouse-playtime reminds us of the interconnectedness of all things, and the responsibility we have to protect that which needs protecting.

paola pivi
installation view | photo by attilio maranzano

paola pivi
installation view | photo by attilio maranzano

paola pivi
installation view | photo by attilio maranzano
paola pivi
installation view | photo by attilio maranzano

paola pivi
installation view | photo by attilio maranzano

paola pivi
oh oh, 2019 | photo by guillaume ziccarelli

paola pivi
bear like me, 2019 | photo by guillaume ziccarelli


long time no see, 2019 | photo by guillaume ziccarelli


you drive me crazy, 2019 | photo by guillaume ziccarelli

 
I was born this way, 2019 | photo by guillaume ziccarelli


I just miss my mom, 2019 | photo by guillaume ziccarelli


we like to fight, 2019 | photo by guillaume ziccarelli

 

 

exhibition info:

 

gallery: perrotin
location: 130 orchard street new york, NY
duration:
now through june 8, 2019

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