Pipilotti Rist

By Jolles, Claudia | Artforum International, November 1993 | Go to article overview

Pipilotti Rist


Jolles, Claudia, Artforum International


"Women's philosophy should be brief, clear, and elegant," a woman's voice intones on the latest album of Les Reines Prochaines. The voice is that of Pipilotti Rist, who is a member of an all-female band. Her video installations seem drawn at once from life in the Middle Ages and life in the suburbs. Rist films and edits her videotapes herself. Even the title, Pickelporno (Pimpleporno, 1992), indicates that her work is concerned with sensual close-ups--with close-up shots of the skin that transform pimples and pores into potholes and stumbling blocks--and that the subjective magnifying glass is out of focus. Precisely measured chaos: over- and underexposures, stuntlike camera angles, and saccharine sweet colors transport these videos from the arena of the technological to the realm of a well-worn hominess.

"Video is like a compact handbag; everything about art and music is in it," Rist once explained. And what it doesn't have--the extension into the spatial--she creates with objects. She stashed a ball-shaped monitor into a ratty, old bathing suit which sagged to the floor like a bloated stomach. Through the yellow material one could vaguely see a probe into a stomach. Another monitor was placed in a mirror which stood on a yellow-and-pink makeup table. …

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