Pipilotti Rist

Meet the sensuous Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist, whose work full of colour and playfulness. She here argues that videos can have painterly qualities and tells the story of one of her most famous videos, where a woman smashes car windows with a flower.

“There is no rule for when and where I get my ideas – some are survival tactics, some are psychotic tics, some are very well thought over.” The video ‘Ever is Over All’ (1997) was Rist’s response to a chief editor, who wouldn’t let her do the things she wished to do – even though he had given her a carte blanche. She felt like smashing his car, but instead chose to make a video, which challenged and even altered her aggression: “That was my catharsis.”

“I’m not more colourful than life is.” The screen is like “a moving glass painting” to Rist, who enjoys the playful use of colours. Moreover, she feels that a lot of people distance themselves from colour, even finding it intimidating. Rist, however, wants to fight for colour: “They call it superficial, but actually it’s dangerous.”

Elisabeth Charlotte “Pipilotti” Rist (b. 1962) is a Swiss visual artist, who works with video, film and moving images, which are often displayed as projections. She takes her name from Pippi Longstockings, heroine of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s much-loved series of children’s books. Early on in her career she began making super 8 films, which generally last only a few minutes and contain alterations in their colours, speed and sound. Among the themes her work centres on are gender, sexuality and the human body. In 1996 her work was first featured in the Venice Biennial, where she was awarded the ‘Premio 2000 Prize’. Other awards include the ‘Wolfgang Hahn Prize’ (1999), the ‘Joan Miró Prize’ (2009) and the ‘Cutting the Edge Award’ at the 27th Annual Miami International Film Festival (2010). Rist’s works are a part of prominent museums worldwide such as MoMA in New York City and Tate Modern in London.

For more about Pipilotti Rist see: http://pipilottirist.net/

Pipilotti Rist was interviewed by Christian Lund at the Hayward Gallery in London, November 2011.

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9 thoughts on “Pipilotti Rist

  1. I would love to take a nap in the big room with all the pictures floating by over the walls. The last video of the flower being smashed into the car windows feels like the woman is frustrated about something but puts on a happy face. Or she just likes the sensation of her flower stick smashing against glass.

  2. “ever is over all” is the kind of video i could watch again and again and not get bored with. i love the idea of something so soft and natural like the plant that is doing the destruction.

  3. I love the juxtaposition of breaking glass with a soft organic flower. The broken edge of the glass further divides the screen in an asymmetrical way encroaching on the city scene larger than life. The landscape breathes such life into the dynamic of the woman walking down the street. Beautiful!

  4. I believe these youtube videos aren’t doing her work justice. I would really enjoy siting in these large rooms and experiencing her work first hand. The shear scale of her work makes it remarkable!

  5. Her installations are like mystical lands and the colors alone are stunning; I wish they were in every room of my house.

  6. Piplotti’s work hits so many sweet spots simultaneously – her treatment of the duality of that particular species of flower – both phallic/masculine and fertile/feminine is mirrored by the female character whose aggressive/assertive (stereotypically masculine) expression through her action surprises the viewer. I think the quality of shock that the viewer experiences is more reflective of the continuation of gender stereotypes in society, and Rist merely draws attention to that bind. A man smashing windows is violent, but a women is amusing.

  7. In respect to National: Exile, Vilify: I found this to be an extremely emotional video that explores the want to defer the finality of death. The hero in his effort fails, and that is an untypical plot scenario. The discomfort factor is there.

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