“Pipilotti Rist: Blood-Fuelled Cameras and Welling Spaces” at Kunstmuseum St.Gallen

Posted filed underContemporary Art, Shows, Switzerland.

With her candy-colored imagery and riotously exuberant installations, Pipilotti Rist has conquered the art world. Born in 1962 in Grabs, in St.Gallen’s Rhine valley, she is regarded today as a seminal figure in contemporary video art. Her first museum exhibition was held in 1994 at the Kunstmuseum St.Gallen as part of the MANOR Art Award, titled I’M Not The Girl Who Misses Much – Ausgeschlafen, frisch gebadet und hochmotiviert. The show then traveled to the Neue Galerie in Graz and the Kunstverein Hamburg, marking the launch of an extraordinary artistic career. Exhibitions at important institutions followed: in 1998 at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; in 2001 at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; in 2007 at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and at Magasin 3, Konsthall Stockholm; and in 2008 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2005, Rist collaborated with the architect Carlos Martinez to create the Stadtlounge in St. Gallen. That same year, she represented Switzerland at the 51st Venice Biennale. In 2008 her first feature-length film, Pepperminta, came to cinemas. Pipilotti Rist has always been interested in describing visually and aurally what kinds of images and sounds result “when you are touched or when you touch someone” (Rist). The almost painterly treatment and room-filling staging of her videos are just as characteristic for her signature artistic language as are the spectacular traveling shots and tumbling images that, together with technical distortions and associative montages of dream-like sequences, culminate in an all-embracing visual inundation in intensely glowing colors. The artist subtly calls into question here our belief that the content portrayed through the medium of video is real, while at the same time the sensual image and sound cosmos she creates washes over the viewer and elicits singular sensations of joy: “Video is the synthesis of music, language, painting, movement, “mean and nasty” images, time, sexuality, epiphany, mad rush and technology. That is the good fortune of the television viewer and the video artist.” (Rist) Stephanie Rosenthal aptly comments: “Rist beguiles her audience into pursuing their own thoughts, letting their inner pictures flow, and shifting their perspectives on the world, so that they can discover new facets. Like a friend, she takes us by the hand and sharpens our attention.” The exhibition Blood-Fuelled Cameras and Welling Spaces was created in close collaboration with the artist expressly for the rooms of the Kunstmuseum St.Gallen and has been realized in cooperation with the Hayward Gallery in London and the Kunsthalle Mannheim. It brings together selected single-channel video works from the initial years of Rist’s visual studies and important early installations such as A Point to the West – A Glance to the East (1992), in which visitors in a sense become one with the cleverly designed projection object, and Selfless in the Bath of Lava (1994). With the room-filling installation Administrating Eternity (2011), on view in this country for the first time, and the Color Lab in the northeast room created especially for this show, a glimpse is provided of the artist’s current work, in which she continues to explore for our benefit the field of eyeball massage – even extending her research to the outdoor space around the museum. With a concise selection of works, Pipilotti Rist has transformed the Kunstmuseum St.Gallen (until 25th of November 2012) into a choreographed landscape at once precisely planned and wondrously open for sensual experiences of body and space. Blood-Fuelled Cameras and Welling Spaces is Pipilotti Rist’s first Swiss retrospective – and at the same time the artist’s temporary return to her homeland.