Date(s) - 19/07/2019 - 07/09/2019
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios
Exhibition Launch: Thursday 18 July, 6 to 8pm.
Conversation with Pilvi Takala + Maeve Connolly ay 5pm: Book Here.
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is delighted to present Pilvi Takala’s first solo exhibition in Ireland.
The Stroker (2018) is a filmed re-creation of research undertaken at Second Home, a trendy co-working space in London that aims to provide creative freelancers and startups with a flexible and innovative environment to work, network and relax. Second Home invests in the wellness of its members with group interaction solutions that enhance the value of its service. In a recent venture to bring unexpected and creativity enhancing experiences to the people working there, Second Home commissioned a number of performance artists, including Pilvi Takala, to engage with the environment and its occupants. Rather than a typical performative response, Takala posed as Nina Nieminen, a wellness consultant of the fictional Personnel Touch, in a two-week intervention following a period of on-site observational research. Nieminen is introduced to the community of Second Home by email and subsequently, spends her time moving through the building, greeting individuals and expressing the benefits of physical contact in the workplace, blending seamlessly with Second Home’s existing programme of yoga and mindfulness. After witnessing and experiencing Takala’s friendly and gentle welcoming touches on the arm and shoulder, the members of Second Home secretly nickname her ‘the Stroker’.
Takala’s natural gestures of care and attention subvert established rules of office conduct, provoking some strong reactions from Second Home’s members, not limited to visible discomfort, bewilderment, nervousness, and tension. Those reactions are hilariously reenacted in The Stroker through facial expressions, bodily movements, silence, awkward verbal exchanges, and attempts at complete disengagement. The setting of a workplace designed at every level to embrace a spirit of creativity, teamwork and collective bonding amplifies these evasive actions and the negative attitudes of the members towards Nieminen. Consequently, Takala probes at the complexities of personal boundaries and individuals’ attitudes towards touch, particularly in the workplace with its inbuilt and longstanding hierarchies. The contemporary neoliberal setting of Second Home’s co-working ‘flat hierarchy’ structure adds further intricacy and nuance to The Stroker.
Pilvi Takala was born in 1981 in Helsinki, and now works between Helsinki and Berlin. Takala has held numerous important international solo exhibitions including Second Shift, Kiasma, Helsinki (2018); CCA, Glasgow (2016); Workers’ Forum, YAMA, Istanbul; Slight Chance, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; and Centre D’Art Contemporani, Barcelona (all 2013). Pilvi Takala is represented by Helsinki Contemporary, Stigter van Doesburg, Amsterdam, and Carlos/Ishikawa, London.