Elisabeth Charlotte Rist (Grabs, Switzerland, 1962) is known internationally as Pipilotti Rist, an artistic name created by fusing her surname and Pippi Longstocking, the fictional character created by author Astrid Lindgren. Rist is a standard references in the field of video-art. Her videos and installations are unmistakable, mixing pop culture, technology and sexuality. In her creations the saturated colours merge into a boundless fantasy achieving a peculiar, reflective approach to everyday experience. Rist treats femininity with the subtle subversion of inherited patterns, incorporating into her work an intensely playful dimension, full of humour.
In the mid-eighties, Rist begins researching new media, delving into the audio-visual and musical worlds. For several years, she was a member of the experimental post-punk group Les Reines Prochaines. During the Nineties she focuses her work in the field of video art that would soon achieve widespread recognition internationally.
On this occasion the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía will exhibit five of her pieces from the Nineties. The catalogue (link to catalogue) has been entirely designed by Rist as an artist’s book and is the sixth work in the exhibition. The diversity in the selection of pieces being exhibited gives a global view of the Swiss artist’s career and delves into her universe.
The video-installation Ever is over all (1997) opens the exhibition with the narration of a story about a woman who walks down the street happily breaking the windows of parked cars with a flower. Passers-by, far from being surprised, seem pleased by the action.
The two large screens that converge at the corner of the next room exhibit Sip My Ocean (1996), a water ride enlivened by a cover of Chris Isaac’s Wicked Game. The video shows several household objects’ descent to the ocean floor, alternating close-ups and shots deformed by a "fisheye" lens which seduce and hypnotise the spectator.
Of a similar atmosphere, the video Blauer Leibesbrief (Blue Bodily Letter) (1992/1999) has been recorded using a four-centimetre CCTV camera which hovers over the hands of a body dotted with coloured gemstones that dreams of its birth.
Next, I couldn´t agree with you (1999) reveals the instinctive thoughts of a woman walking inside a supermarket. In a dreamlike way, a cloud appears above the scene in the food aisles and the artist's face which shows the images of naked people in a state of nature. The connection between the savage and the civilized is shown as something normal and comforting.
Finally, the installation Das Zimmer (The Room) (1994/2000) is a lounge where the size of the furniture is disproportionate to the human figure. Only the television is its normal size. The armchairs, lamps and doors are giant, dwarfing the figure of the visitors, who can sit and watch one of the fourteen channels that show five videos and nine fragments of installations created by Rist.
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