Pipilotti Rist emerged on the international art scene with her visually lush video works and multimedia installations. Since the mid-eighties, Rist has experimented with sound and moving image, questioning the role of media culture from a feminist perspective. Rist is interested in the kind of irritating visual material disseminated by the media and the way it is presented via television, on monitors, or as projection. She is fascinated by the physical demands and consequences of such seductive imagery in our society, unpicking how the media and media formats are able to affect our unconsciousness, dreams and desires.
Rist’s early work comprises a series of single-channel videotapes that explore the female identity within a pop cultural setting. Key works from this period include, I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much, 1986, You Called Me Jacky, 1993, (Absolutions) Pipilotti’s mistakes, 1992, and Pimple Porno, 1993. In early audio/video installations, such as Yoghurt on Skin-Velvet on TV, 1993, small LCD-monitors were hidden inside handbags and seashells and presented on velvet pedestals so visitors may encounter her work unexpectedly. In the video, Selfless in the Bath of Lava, 1994, (permanently installed at PS1, New York), a small hole in a wooden floor reveals a desperate woman crying for help. The installation Das Zimmer, 1995, presents the viewer to sit on outsized furniture while watching television, causing them to experience the feeling of being child-sized, dwarfed by their surroundings. In 1995 Rist positioned a mirrored projection in the corner of a room to guide viewers inside her audiovisual installation Sip My Ocean. Both Das Zimmer and Sip My Ocean were shown at the Chisenhale Gallery, London, in 1995.
The Finnish art critic Mikka Hannula once described Rist as a “tender hooligan, a rebel with a camera, fighting with a flower-peaked spear”. In 1997 Rist was awarded the Premio 2000 for outstanding achievement at the Venice Biennale for her two screen video installation, Ever is Over All, 1997. This remarkable work shows a beautiful young woman strolling down a street in a hypnotic trance, cheerfully smashing the windows of parked cars. Instead of being arrested by a policewoman for her violent behaviour, she is greeted with a smile. It is a story that reads like a humorous eco-activist revenge fantasy, a subtle inversion of social power structures. Rist often asks us to think beyond the law, presenting us with a different take on reality. She challenges our perception of the human body and established role models, circumnavigating orthodox views by inventing new rituals aimed at the alternative development of the mind and senses.
This year Rist was invited by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture to represent Switzerland at the 51st International Biennale di Venezia. Inspired by the tradition of the Venetian painters, she had the entire ceiling of San Stae church covered with a video projection representing her interpretation of the Garden of Eden. Two females, Peppermint and Amber, are seen as the two Eves, surrounded by voluptuous nature – a playful reference to the erotically charged iconography of Italian church art. Visitors to the church were invited to remove their shoes and lie down on soft furnishings allowing them to gaze up at the projection. The installation, Homo sapiens sapiens, 2005, was extraordinarily well received by art professionals and the general public alike.
Hauser & Wirth London are extremely pleased to present Rist’s latest video installation, which can be seen as a sister work to the Venice projection. In the London gallery she will explore the formal aspects of Homo sapiens sapiens further, revisiting the ceiling projection in a dark room with soft furnishings, whilst also continuing the narrative of Pepperminta.
“My figure comes back from Eden into civilisation. She behaves similarly to the way she did in her ‘with-nature-melted-state’. While saddened by the changes in her environment, she nonetheless accepts them, being proud, hysterical and tender. It does not matter whether the performing figure is a woman or a man. My figures (always) stand as a symbol for the philosophical human being. For me the woman is the norm and the man is the exception. The figure-object has the same power as the camera-subject. The work deals with the basic wish to overcome gravity and to finally return ‘home’. It glorifies our weaknesses and shortcomings and gives us hope and tenderness. It deals with the questions of common ethics beyond and after religion.”
Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962) lives and works in Zurich. Her work has been shown in a large number of international solo and group shows. She received Premio 2000 of the Venice Biennale in 1997 and was nominated for the Hugo Boss Prize in 1998. Recent solo exhibitions include: Venice Biennial 2005, 51st International Art Exhibition, Contribution of Swiss Federal Office of Culture BAK, San Stae Church, Pipilotti Rist – Homo sapiens sapiens, Venezia, 2005, AROS – Arhus New Kunstmuseum, one of the 9 rooms / Dawnhours at the neighbours house, 2005, Centre of Contemporary Art – Zamek Ujazdowski Warszawa, Pipilotti Rist, 2004, SFMOMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Stir Heart Rinse Heart, 2004, Recent group exhibition include: Barbican Art Gallery, Colour after Klein. Rethinking Colour in Modern and Contemporary Art, 2005‚ Bomuldsfabriken, Arendal, Jönköpings Läns Museum, Jönköping, Länsmuseet Gävleborg, Gävleborg et al., Spiritus, 2003. Upcoming solo exhibitions include: MUSAC – Museo de arte contemporaneo Castilla y Leon (December 2005), Fondazione Prada Milan (fall 2006) and Hara Museum Tokyo (2007).
Please also view: www.pipilottirist.net, www.hauserwirth.com, and the following websites for distribution of her early single channel works: www.videoart.com, www.eai.org, www.bdv.com
About the artist
Pipilotti Rist, a pioneer of spatial video art, was born 1962 in Grabs in the Swiss Rhine Valley on the Austrian Border and has been a central figure within the international art scene since the mid-1980s. Astounding the art world with the…Learn more