After being immersed in Pipilotti Rist’s video art, it’s hard not to feel a new zest for life. A brilliantly vivid celebration of happiness, her work makes you feel like someone has come along to give you a kick in the pants and a tall Pimms cocktail. If you’re stuck behind a desk fan this stinky season, try crawling on over to ACCA for Pipilotti Rist’s refreshing I Packed the Postcard in My Suitcase.
Rist’s critically acclaimed installations have exhibited in the top tier of contemporary art galleries around the world. One of her biggest fans is ACCA’s Artistic Director Juliana Enberg, who says: “Pipilotti is a free spirit with an ancient and philosophical anchor.” Rist has created at least three new works, and adapted some pre-loved pieces for this exhibition. “From the minuscule to the maximal,” Enberg says, “Pipilotti creates lush, saturated and hypnotic environments to keep the audience spell-bound and in the moment of hedonistic pleasure.”
Rist is taking advantage of ACCA’s cavernous halls as well as its intimate spaces for I Packed the Postcard in My Suitcase. ‘Gravity be my Friend’ floods the walls and high ceilings with images of autumnal leaves and shimmering water as a woman swims with her brother, happily splashing around. Meanwhile, underneath Rist’s languid scenes, you can soak up all the scenery on comfy islands on the floor and enjoy the trip. Enberg promises ACCA’s other, more intimate galleries will feature “capriccios of festivity, pastoral dreamscapes, and sexy nymph antics.” (And who doesn’t love sexy nymph antics?)
Another work on show will be Rist’s ‘I Couldn’t Agree With You More’ (2007), which allows audiences a glimpse into an average day of the artist’s life. You walk with her through the supermarket and navigate her apartment - while fantastical creatures hover around her head. “Pipi sees video images as raw material. She is not interested in straightforward images so she intermixes and cuts and splices and superimposes,” Enberg says. “You could relate this to early psychedelic and experimental processes in film language.”
In 2010, Rist created a lit-up chandelier of underpants for New York’s Luhrig Augustine gallery. It caused the New York Observer to write: “[Rist] has been teasing the art world for some time. And, though in her late 40s, she maintains a refreshing air of rebelliousness”. Enberg says this rebelliousness is a “cheerful anarchy” for things, rather than against them. “She has an open mind and an open heart,” she says. It’s this freedom, positivity, and most of all her honesty that has attracted critical attention.
I Packed the Postcard in My Suitcase captures Rist’s creative journey over the years. “We see an evolution from her early single works to the more elaborate installation works. The works become more audience-embracing and surrounding,” Enberg says. “But the exhibition captures the world of Pipilotti Rist, in all its wonder, imagination and heavenly extravagance.”