Pipilotti Rist

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Pipilotti Rist
Pipilotti Rist at Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona
Pipilotti Rist at Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona
Elisabeth Rist

(1962-06-21) 21 June 1962 (age 60)[1]
EducationInstitute of Applied Arts, Schule für Gestaltung
Known forVideo art
Notable workPepperminta, I'm Not The Girl Who Misses Much, Pickleporno, Ever is Over All
AwardsJoan Miró Prize (2009)
Pink tramway in Geneva, by Pipilotti Rist[2]
Line 71-17 detail of interior

Pipilotti Elisabeth Rist (born 21 June 1962) is a Swiss visual artist best known for creating experimental video art and installation art.[3] Her work is often described as surreal, intimate, abstract art, having a preoccupation with the female body. Her artwork is often categorized as feminist art.

Rist's work is known for its multi-sensory qualities, with overlapping projected imagery that is highly saturated with color, paired with sound components that are part of a larger environment with spaces for viewers to rest or lounge. Rist's work often transforms the architecture or environment of a white cube gallery into a more tactile, auditory and visual experience.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Pipilotti Rist was born Elisabeth Charlotte Rist[5] in Grabs in the Rhine Valley.[6] Her father is a doctor and her mother is a teacher.[7] She started going by "Pipilotti", a combination her childhood nickname "Lotti" with her childhood hero, Astrid Lindgren’s character Pippi Longstocking, in 1982.[8] Prior to studying art and film, Rist studied theoretical physics in Vienna for one semester.[9] From 1982 to 1986 Rist studied commercial art, illustration, and photography at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in Vienna.[10] She later studied video at the Basel School of Design, Switzerland. From 1988 through 1994, she was member of the music band and performance group Les Reines prochaines.[11] In 1997, her work was first featured in the Venice Biennial, where she was awarded the Premio 2000 Prize.[10] From 2002 to 2003, she was invited by Professor Paul McCarthy to teach at UCLA as a visiting faculty member. From summer 2012 through to summer 2013, Rist spent a sabbatical in Somerset.[12]

Rist lives and works in Zurich,[13] Switzerland with her partner Balz Roth, an entrepreneur. She and Roth have a son, Himalaya.[14][10]


During her studies, Pipilotti Rist began making super 8 films.[10] Her works generally last only a few minutes, borrowing from mass-media formats such as MTV and advertising,[15] with alterations in their colors, speed, and sound.[16] Her works generally treat issues related to gender, sexuality, and the human body.[17]

Her colorful and musical works transmit a sense of happiness and simplicity. Rist's work is regarded as feminist by some art critics. Her works are held by many important art collections worldwide.

In I'm Not The Girl Who Misses Much (1986)[18] Rist dances before a camera in a black dress with uncovered breasts. The images are often monochromatic and fuzzy. Rists repeatedly sings "I'm not the girl who misses much," a reference to the first line of the song "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" by the Beatles. As the video approaches its end, the image becomes increasingly blue and fuzzy and the sound stops.[19]

Rist achieved notoriety with Pickelporno (Pimple porno) (1992),[20] a work about the female body and sexual excitation. The fisheye camera moves over the bodies of a couple. The images are charged by intense colors, and are simultaneously strange, sensual, and ambiguous.[21]

Sip my Ocean (1996)[22] is an audio-video installation projected as a mirrored reflection on two adjoining walls, duplicating the video as sort of Rorschach inkblots. Besides a television and tea-cups other domestic items can be seen sinking slowly under the ocean surface. The video is intercut with dreamlike frames of bodies swimming underwater and other melancholic images such as colourful overlays of roses across the heavens. Slightly abstract and layered the visuals invite the viewer to reveal its depth beneath the surface. Accompanying the video is Rist singing Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game". Her voice is starting of sweetly but becomes gradually out of synchronicity with the song, ending in the shrieking chorus of “No, I don’t wanna fall in love”. Rist breaks the illusion of synchronicity in the video with the asynchrony of the audio and captures the human longing for and impossibility of being totally in tune with somebody else.[10][23]

Ever is Over All (1997)[24] shows in slow-motion a young woman walking along a city street, smashing the windows of parked cars with a large hammer in the shape of a tropical flower. At one point a police officer greets her.[25] The audio video installation has been purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Rist's nine video segments titled Open My Glade[26] were played once every hour on a screen at Times Square in New York City, a project of the Messages to the Public program, which was founded in 1980.

“I want to see how you see – a portrait of Cornelia Providori”[27] (2003) is an audio-visual work spanning 5:16. The sound was created in collaboration with Andreas Guggisberg, with whom Rist often works with. The main subject is the dialectical tension between macro and micro and how the continents are mirrored on the human body. The technical components are two to four layers of edited images, intricately cut and stacked on top of each other.[28]

Pour Your Body Out[29] was a commissioned multimedia installation organized by Klaus Biesenbach and installed in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art in early 2009. In an interview with Phong Bui published in The Brooklyn Rail, Rist said she chose the atrium for the installation "because it reminds me of a church's interior where you’re constantly reminded that the spirit is good and the body is bad. This spirit goes up in space but the body remains on the ground. This piece is really about bringing those two differences together."[30]

Her first feature film, Pepperminta, had its world premiere at the 66th Venice International Film Festival in 2009.[31] She summarized the plot as "a young woman and her friends on a quest to find the right color combinations and with these colors they can free other people from fear and make life better.”[32]

In a 2011 Guardian exhibition review article, Rist describes her feminism: "Politically," she says, "I am a feminist, but personally, I am not. For me, the image of a woman in my art does not stand just for women: she stands for all humans. I hope a young guy can take just as much from my art as any woman."[33]

She likened her videos to that of women's handbags, hoping that it'd have “room in them for everything: painting, technology, language, music, lousy flowing pictures, poetry, commotion, premonitions of death, sex, and friendliness."[34]

Rist's work is held in the permanent collections of museums and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art,[35] the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,[36] the San Francisco MoMA,[37] and the Utrecht Centraal Museum.[38]


‘Behind Your Eyelid’, Tai Kwun, Hong Kong SAR - August 3, 2022- November 27, 2022


Ever is Over All was referenced in 2016 by Beyoncé in the film accompanying her album Lemonade in which the singer is seen walking down a city street smashing windows of parked cars with a baseball bat.[39]



  1. ^ Phaidon Editors (2019). Great women artists. Phaidon Press. p. 338. ISBN 978-0714878775. {{cite book}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  2. ^ "Monochrome rose | ART&TRAM". art-et-tram.ch.
  3. ^ "Pipilotti Rist - Biography - Guggenheim Museum". www.guggenheim.org. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  4. ^ "Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest". www.newmuseum.org. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  5. ^ "Pipilotti Rist - Biography - Guggenheim Museum". www.guggenheim.org. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  6. ^ a b c d "Artists — Pipilotti Rist — Biography — Hauser & Wirth". Archived from the original on 2018-02-09. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  7. ^ Schjeldahl, Peter (September 20, 2010), "Feeling Good: The art of Pipilotti Rist", The New Yorker, retrieved July 15, 2019
  8. ^ Kazanjian, Dodie (December 1, 2010). "From the Archives: Pipilotti Rist is Caught on Tape". Vogue. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  9. ^ Green, Tyler (host) (December 15, 2016), "No. 267: Pipilotti Rist, Mark Speltz", The Modern Art Notes Podcast, retrieved 2016-12-21
  10. ^ a b c d e Tomkins, Calvin (September 14, 2020). "The Colorful Worlds of Pipilotti Rist". The New Yorker. pp. 43–51. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  11. ^ Bishop, Claire. "Interview with Pipilotti Rist". MAKE Magazine. 91: 13–16.
  12. ^ Pipilotti Rist, September 2012 – August 2013 Archived July 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Hauser & Wirth, Somerset.
  13. ^ Pipilotti Rist Interview: A Visit to the Studio, archived from the original on 2021-12-22, retrieved 2021-04-07
  14. ^ Schjeldahl, Peter (2010-09-20). "Feeling Good". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  15. ^ Grant, Catherine M. (2004), "Rist, Pipilotti", Grove Art Online, retrieved 3 March 2018
  16. ^ Mondloch, Kate (2018). A Capsule Aesthetic: Feminist Materialisms in New Media Art. University of Minnesota Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-4529-5510-0.
  17. ^ Mangini, Elizabeth (May 2001). "Pipilotti's Pickle: Making Meaning from the Feminine Position". PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art. 23 (2): 1–9. doi:10.2307/3246502. JSTOR 3246502. S2CID 144369026.
  18. ^ "Rist's "I'm not the girl who misses much"". Tate.org.uk.
  19. ^ Holly, Rogers, Sounding the Gallery: Video and the Rise of Art-Music [Oxford University Press, 2013]
  20. ^ "Pipilotti Rist "Pickelporno" 1992". ZKM.
  21. ^ Castagnini, Laura. "The 'Nature' of Sex: Parafeminist Parody in Pipilotti Rist's Pickelporno (1992)". Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art. 2: 164–181, 253.
  22. ^ "Sip My Ocean". Guggenheim. 1996-01-01. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  23. ^ Haslem, W (2018-12-21). Sip My Ocean: Immersion, Senses and Colour. Charles Sturt University. OCLC 1315668744. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  24. ^ "Pipilotti Rist. Ever Is Over All. 1997". The Museum of Modern Art.
  25. ^ Varley-Winter, Rebecca. "Colouring écriture féminine in Peter Manson's translations of Mallarmé". Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry. 11.
  26. ^ "Times Square Arts: Open My Glade (Flatten)". arts.timessquarenyc.org.
  27. ^ Pipilotti Rist: "I want to see how you see" Blick Production NY, 2003
  28. ^ Ilene Kurtz-Kretschmar: "Point of view: an anthology of the moving image" Blick Production NY, 2004 (Nr. 10. Pipilotti Rist. I want to see how you see. An interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist.
  29. ^ "Pipilotti Rist: Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters)". The Museum of Modern Art.
  30. ^ Bui, Phong (January 2009). "In Conversation: Pipilotti Rist with Phong Bui". The Brooklyn Rail.
  31. ^ "Pipilotti Rist's Pepperminta, the Barnes Foundation and The Art of the Steal, and other new art films". www.artnet.com. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  32. ^ Kennedy, Randy (2009-11-11). "The Uncomfortably Intimate Art of Pipilotti Rist". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  33. ^ Barnett, Laura (2011-09-04). "Pipilotti Rist: 'We all come from between our mother's legs'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  34. ^ "The Colorful Worlds of Pipilotti Rist". The New Yorker. 2020-09-02. Retrieved 2021-12-14.
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  37. ^ "Pipilotti Rist | SFMOMA". SFMOMA. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  38. ^ "Pipilotti Rist: Expecting | Centraal Museum Utrecht". Centraal Museum. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  39. ^ "Is Beyoncé's Windshield-Destroying Stroll in Lemonade Based on This '90s Art Film?". Slate.com. Slate. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  40. ^ a b "Pipilotti Rist Archive" (PDF). Brooklyn Museum.
  41. ^ "Campusmanagement-Portal der Universität der Künste Berlin" [Campus management portal of the Berlin University of the Arts]. Berlin University of the Arts (in German). Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  42. ^ "Large St.Galler Culture Award for Manon". Canton of St. Gallen. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
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  49. ^ "Zürcher Festspielpreis". Festspiele Zürich. Archived from the original on 2016-05-19.

Further reading[edit]

Phelan, Peggy, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Elisabeth Bronfen. Pipilotti Rist. London, New York: Phaidon, 2001. ISBN 0714839655

Ravenal, John B. Outer & Inner Space: Pipilotti Rist, Shirin Neshat, Jane & Louise Wilson, and the History of Video Art. Richmond, VA: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2002. ISBN 0917046617

Söll, Änne. Pipilotti Rist. Cologne: DuMont, 2005. ISBN 978-3832175788

External links[edit]