Mercy Garden (video stills), 2013 / 2014. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Luhring Agustine, New York
29 Nov – 22 Feb 2015

Pipilotti Rist: Stay Stamina Stay

This resource has been produced to accompany the exhibition, ‘Pipilotti Rist: Stay Stamina Stay’, at Hauser & Wirth Somerset.

This resource has been produced to accompany the exhibition, ‘Pipilotti Rist: Stay Stamina Stay’, at Hauser & Wirth Somerset.

About Pipilotti Rist
Pipilotti Rist was born in Switzerland in 1962. She studied at the Institute of Applied Arts in Vienna from 1982 to 1986, and studied video and animation in Basel from 1986 to 1988. She took on the name Pipilotti in recognition of her inspiration from the children’s narrative character Pippi Longstocking. Early in her career she worked as a graphic designer, she also played in a music band and performance group called Les Reines Prochaines. From 2002 to 2003, she was invited by Paul McCarthy to teach at UCLA as a visiting lecturer.

What inspires her work?
Everyday life, the body and fun are Pipilotti’s inspirations she is inspired by play, dreams and female sexuality. Other video artists such as Yoko Ono and Naum June Paik, and the Fluxus movement in particular have influenced her, not only because they also use video but also their attitude towards anti-elitist art. This type of art involves the viewer in the work in an attempt to break down the boundaries between art and everyday life.

What does her work look like?
Pipilotti Rist mainly works in video. She does not want to respond to or record reality but makes works about unconscious thoughts and dreams. The installations in the Bourgeois and Rhodes galleries are over-sized wall projections. The colours and textures on the floor help to unify the space and we become absorbed within her images and sounds. The appearances of the images in her work seem strangely familiar but at the same time, we feel like we are glimpsing into her personal world. The projections are usually so large that it is impossible to see the whole surface all at once.

What are her main themes?
Many consider her to be a feminist; whilst she is female Pipilotti is primarily concerned with bodies in space. The references to gender are both subjective and objective; she wants to draw attention to our experience of the world but this is achieved through the projections of her own vision. She is interested in how we move around an exhibition and respond to the work. Pipilotti wants us to look at the world close-up, and become immersed in her landscapes. There is always a sense of happiness and fun in her work. The main theme for this exhibition comes from her experience of living in Bruton during 2012 – 2013.

Mercy Garden (video stills), 2013 / 2014. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Luhring Augustine, New York

Mercy Garden (video stills), 2013 / 2014. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Luhring Augustine, New York

How does she make her work?
Pipilotti makes video and installation. She uses film and digital media, by recording imagery close-up she focuses on glaring, bright colours, as well as filming flesh really close-up so it looks more like a landscape. By considering the real space of the gallery and not just the wall as a surface for her projection, Pipilotti draws attention to the environment from the light on the wall to the texture on the floor.

Does she work in any other ways?
Pipilotti Rist has strung underpants around the gallery buildings; her ‘Hiplights’ link the farmyard buildings. They are lit from within, like bunting or fairylights. She has previously created a chandelier from pants; one of these was shown at the Hayward Gallery in 2011. According to Pipilotti, ‘Hiplights talks about our relationship we have with this important, complicate and sexually charged area in the middle of our bodies. The part that causes also love pain and shame feelings. The work animates us to take these problems “light”. And we all come out from between our mother’s legs, from there that we first see the light of the world.’

How does she title her work?
The title of this exhibition is, STAY STAMINA STAY. It plays on its double-meaning; referencing the stamen, (the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower) and also a ‘resistance to hardship’. Rist is concerned with our connection and interaction with the world around us; how we relate to our landscape, what preconceptions we carry from our respective cultures, and what those cultures have in common. In the Rhodes Gallery, ‘Mercy Garden’ is projected onto two walls and in the Bourgeois Gallery the piece is titled, ‘Sleeping Pollen’.

What other artist’s work does it relate to?
Many other artists are associated with Pipilotti Rist, she is often seen as a feminist artist and compared to Hannah Wilkie or Marina Abramovic. However, her light-hearted and fun approach to using art to comment on everyday life links her to Pop Art.

Mercy Garden (video stills), 2013 / 2014. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Luhring Augustine, New York

Mercy Garden (video stills), 2013 / 2014. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Luhring Augustine, New York


Feminism in art refers to work made by women that addresses unequal power relationships between different genders. Many women artists make work that responds directly to feminist art theory since about 1970. Ellen Gallagher also makes work about identity, learn more here.

Video Art
Video art relies on moving pictures and comprises video and/or audio data. Video art started to be produced during the early 1960s and early 1970s as new technology became more widely available. See: Anri Sala.

Psychoanalysis is the name given to the theory of mind developed originally by Sigmund Freud, a theory which has had and continues to have an enormous impact on culture and intellectual life. Other artists to consider: Louise Bourgeois.

Mixed-media constructions or assemblages usually designed for a specific place and for a temporary period of time. Other artists to consider: Phyllida Barlow.

Immersive Art
When you enter the environment you’re immediately transported to another place and time. You forget about the world around you and find yourself completely immersed in the present moment. Consider the architectural environments of Dan Graham.


Suggested Activities During your Visit

Note: you will need to bring pencils and a sketchbook.

Activity 1
Whilst watching on of Pipilotti Rist’s films record all the different colours and natural forms that you see, and all the sounds that you hear.

Activity 2
Use your words to help make an acrostic poem from one of these words: stay, landscape or stamina. Try to use words that describe texture, sound and mood.

Activity 3
Wear a blind-fold and use a pencil line to draw as you listen. How can you use line to record sound? Think about the characteristics of the sound is it smooth, does it jar, is it soft or harsh etc.?


Practical Activity Prompts & Ideas for Discussion Following your Visit

Key Stage 1 and 2
Make your own personal film by making a flipbook. You can use notepads, post-it notes, notebook paper, printer paper, or even the corners of a book. Thin paper is generally better, as it’s much easier to “flip”. Focus on one item from your landscape a tree, leaf, sheep for example and draw your subject on the last page, on the next page you should be able to see-through to the image below, copy it but make a small alteration. Repeat many times then flip the pages to see your image move.

Key Stage 3
Pipilotti Rist’s work is about art and everyday life. Consider what subjects reflect your life, and use either still photography to make a flipbook and/or use digital media to produce your own film or your ‘own’ landscape. Think about where it would be projected and how you would alter the space.


Supplementary Research

Peggy Phelan, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Elizabeth Bronfen, ‘Pipilotti Rist’, London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2001
Stephanie Rosenthal, ‘Pipilotti Rist: Eyeball Massage’, London: Hayward Publishing (exh. cat.) 2011
Pipilotti Rist speaks with Adrian Searle about ‘Eyeball Massage’


Inspiring Websites that may Help with your Project

Flip books

How to make a quick and simple flip book

Acrostic poem maker

Pipilotti Rist’s website



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