For the duration of Pilvi Takala’s exhibition here at Pump House Gallery we are highlighting a few of her other works in order to gain more insight into Pilvi’s practice.
In The Real Show White, 2009, Pilvi explored the relationship between the real and the fictional during a visit to Disneyland, revealing the regulations applied to fans wearing costumes of Disney characters at the park. When Pilvi, dressed as Snow White, was refused entry, the park authorities explained it is strictly forbidden for adults to wear costumes of Disney characters because children may be confused. The authorities explain that the issue is that the actions by the adult in costume could effect and potentially ruin the perception of the ‘real’ Snow White.
This gesture reveals the fear within the park’s organisation that the dream-like characters Disney portray, and the dreams of the children, can be manipulated and even destroyed if someone unauthorised dresses up like a Disney character. Though a variety of costume-like merchandise is sold on the premises, a separation becomes apparent between who can wear costumes and who can not. We learn that only children are permitted to wear full costumes and adults may only wear certain accessories or parts of costumes, but are not allowed to fully “disguise” themselves as the character. Through this gesture, Pilvi exposes the delicate balance between reality and fantasy, fact and fiction, disguise and transformation. The Disney slogan “Dreams come true” suddenly appears to exclusively refer to dreams produced by Disney.
Pilvi’s work sits between a serious investigation and playful agitation of social and political structures, whether a performance, a video, a sculpture or the space left behind after one of her interactions. In her complex and rich practice, using disguise to engage and negotiate different social terrains, she reveals unspoken rules within systems of culture.