Collection Sandretto Re Rebaudengo: Have you seen me Before? at Whitechapel

By Ben Miller | 26 June 2013

Exhibition review: Collection Sandretto Re Rebaudengo: Have you seen me Before?, Whitechapel Gallery, London, until September 8 2013

A photo of a large sculpture of a yellow polar bear covered in feathers inside a gallery
Paola Pivi, Have you seen me Before? (2008). Polyuretheane foam, feathers, plastic, wood, steel© Courtesy Collezione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
The previous three marauders upstairs at the Whitechapel by the Collection Sandretto Re Rebaudengo – a fairly spectacular European holding of private artworks by big names – have seen clusters of haphazardly-strewn dolls, potion-heavy virus investigations and rodents prone over tables.

So a large, snout-down polar bear, covered in a mound of yellow feathers, is a relatively demure addition to the fourth and final line-up, curious and amusing enough to underline why the collection will be worth seeking out wherever it tours to next.

Constructed from a foam torso, Paola Pivi’s animalistic encounter isn’t even the most maddening one here: that nod goes to a simple Christmas tree decorated with tiny bears in front of a ghetto blaster, from which the sound of French artist Philippe Parreno reading the cultural musings of Jean-Luc Godard blares tinnily out.

Parreno’s vocal imposter has a visually fraudulent counterpoint on a nearby table, the surface of which is consumed by a bogus round of cheese.

Katharina Fritsch’s latex, MDF and steel recreation, cast in anaemic yellow, is part of an artificial ecosystem where red and yellow bulbs protrude from the walls – the first a pair of yellow ones, flickering in a corner in a pair of lights displaced from a road crossing by Angela Bulloch, the second a blood red balloon of Anish Kapoor’s, leaving a crimson smudge on the white wall it hangs from.

  • Open 11am-6pm (9pm Thursday, closed Monday). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @_TheWhitechapel.

More pictures:

A photo of a series of small fold-up seats arranged around a christmas tree and stereo
Philippe Parreno, Jean-Luc Godard (1993). Artificial tree, Christmas decorations, folding chairs, tape recorder© Courtesy Collezione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
A photo of a large round cheese-like slab on top of a modest table inside an art gallery
Katharina Fritsch, Table with Cheese (1981). Latex, steel, medium density© Courtesy Collezione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
A black and white photo of a mechanical hand balancing a stick against a metal bucket
Fischli & Weiss, Untitled (Equilibre) (1984). Black and white photograph© Courtesy Collezione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
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