Pilvi Takala

18 Mar-4 Jun 2023

Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art
London SE14 6AD


Goldsmiths CCA will host a solo exhibition by artist Pilvi Takala (b. 1981, Finland). The exhibition will be the most extensive UK showing of her work to date and includes the multi-channel installation Close Watch (2022), which was presented at the Finnish Pavilion for the 2022 Venice Biennale. Takala was employed as a fully-qualified security guard for six months at one of Finland’s largest shopping malls. Working covertly, she explored the obscure parameters of the private security industry. Various issues she experienced at the mall are worked through in a series of filmed subsequent workshops with her colleagues.

Takala works through video, performance, and installation, to stress test the conventions and codes that govern our daily interactions. Infiltrating offices, theme parks, shopping malls, and public spaces, she adopts a softly disruptive but camouflaged persona; an intern, Snow White, or a ‘wellness consultant’. Her behaviour prompts reactions that are revealing of those around her. Often humorous, sometimes threatening or perplexing, her actions force those around her to articulate their discomfort, so delineating soft boundaries that have been crossed. Our social norms are quietly revealed to be disciplined by the conventions of capitalist culture, shaping us in a mould of consumer rather than citizen. Exceptionally, Takala’s work takes us beyond the revelation of these complex issues. The idea of resolution, or the invitation to think beyond critique is firmly embedded within the work.


Pilvi Takala’s video works are based on performative interventions in which she researches specific communities in order to process social structures and question the normative rules and truths of our behaviour in different contexts. Her works show that it is often possible to learn about the implicit rules of a social situation simply through its disruption. Takala represented Finland at the 59th Venice Biennial 2022. Her work has also been shown at Mediacity Biennale, Seoul (2021), Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2021), Künstlerhaus Bremen (2019), Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2018), CCA Glasgow (2016), Manifesta 11, Zurich (2016), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015), MoMA PS1, New York (2014), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013), New Museum, NYC (2012), Kunsthalle Basel (2011), Witte de With, Rotterdam (2010) and 9th Istanbul Biennial (2005).Takala won the Dutch Prix de Rome in 2011, the Emdash Award in 2013, and the Finnish State Prize for Visual Arts in 2013. The artist divides her time between Berlin and Helsinki.