Press News Spring 2009
February 2009

Elixir: The video organism of Pipilotti Rist

7 March 2009 10 May 2009
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam is devoting a major exhibition to the video artist Pipilotti Rist (Switzerland, 1962). The exhibition includes eight recent works made in the period 2003-2008, and two completely new ones which have been especially made on this occasion. The videos sumptuous images of beauty and innocence will be displayed in a 1500m2 installation, a Gesamtkunstwerk designed by the artist and her team.

Pipilotti Rist, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, 2005
Pipilotti Rist, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, 2005

Pipilotti Rist has designed a system of transparent walls that lead the visitor through the video works. These include ‘Tyngdkraft, var min vän’ (Gravity Be My Friend), ‘Homo Sapiens Sapiens’ and ‘A Liberty Statue for Löndön’, among others. The soundtracks – music and sounds composed by the artist in collaboration with Anders Guggisberg – complete Rist’s dream world.

Total Sensory Experience
Whether in intimate video works and objects or monumental museum installations, Pipilotti Rist transforms the visual spectacle into a total sensory experience. The exhibition at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen will include a new installation, which is linked with the material of her first long feature film ‘Pepperminta’ (release end of summer 2009). The first installation of this new cycle was designed for the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art New York. The shooting took place in Switzerland, Vienna/AT and in the Noordoostpolder/NL. She also creates a permanent video work in one of the monumental staircases of the museum in collaboration with H+F Patronage.

Apparent Innocence
Since Pipilotti Rist made her debut as a video artist with her academy work ‘I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much’ in 1986, her work has been regarded as among the very best that contemporary art has to offer. Her ambiguous and provocative video works have delighted and surprised visitors at solo exhibitions and the Venice Biennale. The carefree atmosphere of her works serves to amplify the sense of apparent innocence and her brazen aesthetic. A key work in the exhibition is the self-interview ‘Kleines Vorstadthirn’ (Small Suburb Brain), which Rist works on intermittently since 1999. It is a personal political statement of her position as an environmentally aware, socially engaged artist.

Video Works
By working intensively with video Pipilotti Rist has more or less reinvented art. Her unique universe has the sensuality and depth of painting, but is created through enchanting video images and hallucinatory soundtracks. This is her paradise and she entices us to join her there. She employs ambitious techniques, such as the extreme close-ups with a fisheye lens, breath taking hand camera travelling and rhythmic poetical editing rather than a linear narrative.

The museum is publishing a richly illustrated catalogue exhibition to accompany the exhibition with essays by Paul Kempers, John Slyce, Catrien Schreuder and Emile Wennekes, designed by Irma Boom.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has organised an extensive programme of activities around the exhibition ‘Elixir: the video organism of Pipilotti Rist’. These include a one-off interview with the artist, video workshops and a video competition. Children will have the opportunity to make a video work or participate in a dance experiment.
For full programme information see:

The exhibition has been made in partnership with Kiasma and H+F Mecenaat and is financially supported by Pro Helvetia.

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