Artist Pilvi Takala's project The Committee (2013) is exhibited at Pump House Gallery in Battersea until 26 March. It documents a group of kids between the ages of 8 and 12 helping Takala spend her award money, £7,000, as they choose.
In her complex and rich practice Pilvi Takala confuses the space of exactly what the work is, whether a performance, a video, a sculpture or the space left behind after one of her interactions. Takala’s work sits between a serious investigation and playful agitation of social and political structures. Using disguise to engage and negotiate different social terrains, she reveals unspoken rules within systems of culture.
For her exhibition at Pump House Gallery, Takala expands upon her project The Committee (2013) originally produced for the Emdash Award as part of Frieze London Art Fair. The artist invited a group of children aged 8 to 12 who were regulars at a youth centre in Bow, London to spend her £7,000 award in any way they wished. Free to choose how they would formulate decisions as a group, after deliberation the children decided to design and produce a custom-made bouncy castle called “Five Star Bouncy House”, which could be used by them and hired out to raise funds for the youth centre. Since then the youth centre – along with many other local youth and community centres – has been forced to close due to funding cuts. In Takala’s video which follows the process the group embarked on, the children explain how they decided to spend the prize money, discussing the process of decision-making and the values that guided them. In this exhibition Takala returns more than three years later to interview the children. As part of the exhibition the “Five Star Bouncy House” will be erected on weekends when the weather permits.
Takala also presented another project in London titled The Stroker (Personnel Touch). Takala explored and documented people’s reactions to touch in a workplace environment. The Stroker concluded with a talk event Thursday 12 January. For The Stroker (Personnel Touch) Pilvi Takala lived and worked for ten days at Second Home creative workspace in July 2016 under the pseudonym Nina Nieminen, an entrepreneur interested in the power of touch in the business environment. Only three members of staff were accomplices in a situation constructed by Second Home, and the rest thought Nina was employed as part of a wellbeing programme to test out and apply Productive Touching techniques within the offices. Whilst there, Nina gathered and archived people’s reactions, their disorientation and hesitations towards her. The artist remained undercover until Thursday 12 January, when she in a performance produced in collaboration with dancer Emma Waltraud Howes revealed it to the staff members at Second Home. The video of the performance was screened and followed by a public talk between the curator Teresa Calonje, Pilvi Takala and Emma Waltraud Howes on Thursday 7 pm at Liberia Bookshop, 65 Hanbury Street, London E1 5JP.
Takala (b. 1981) lives and works in Berlin. 2016 solo exhibitions include: Pilvi Takala, Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark; Pilvi Takala, CCA Glasgow, Scotland. 2016 group exhibitions include: Manifesta 11, Zurich; Bucharest Biennial 7; Detail ist alles, Kunstahlle Mainz.