Pilvi Takala

Bag Lady

Bag Lady
Bag Lady


As part of her contribution to 'The Other Tradition' (WIELS), Pilvi Takala’s performance 'Bag
Lady' will take place in a shopping mall in the centre of Brussels. The simple action of a neatly dressed woman (the artist herself) carrying a lot of cash in a transparent plastic bag as she walks through the mall was previously realized twice, most recently as part of the 5th Berlin Biennial’s night program in 2008.

Revealing the unwritten rules of society, as does so much of Takala’s
larger body of work (and indeed as does her project, The Trainee,
featured in the exhibition spaces of WIELS), Bag Lady is a simple but
revelatory action in which the artist behaves like a perfect customer
while doing something apparently “wrong.” Invariably (and as previous
versions of the action have revealed), customers and sales personnel
comment and whisper and eventually security guards tell her that she “is
not allowed” walk around as she does with all that money.

She thus
reveals how the act of showing your money too conspicuously in a public
place of commerce invariably becomes both a security threat and a
subject of protection and, in the process, she challenges the pleasant
and secure shopping atmosphere of the mall, especially the people
responsible for maintaining it.

This slight intervention sheds controversial light on the fragility of
the social order, where private property in the form of money or a
consumer product is of such supreme value that it is under constant
intuitive public control. She will show the piece for the first time in
Brussels on a busy Saturday.