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  Pipilotti Rist, Extremities (soft, soft), 1999.

Pipilotti Rist

Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York
Through May 27

Pipilotti Rist (born in Switzerland in 1962), former player in a band, then set designer for rock music concerts, creates video installations that are under the aesthetic fascination of MTV pop culture. “I see videos as moving paintings under glass…” she stated. Digital music composed and sung by herself makes up the soundtrack for garishly colored images (in fuchsia, apple green, turquoise) restlessly swaying on the walls of the exhibition space, without narrative continuity, albeit charged with explicitly sexual messages. “My works should not interact on a purely intellectual level, instead they should elicit emotions, stimulate energy and pleasure…” In I couldn’t agree with you more, (1999), on view at Luhring Augustine in New York, the video of the artist’s close-up is shown as she obsessively walks around town. From time to time, on her forehead, like an erotic fantasy, men and women appear, walking naked through the bushes of a nighttime Eden, as if an X-ray video camera were capturing her thoughts and communicating them to the world at large. There is no psychological introspection, just sheer affirmation of sexuality, devoid of inhibitions. The use of the camera as an invasive instrument of one’s privacy is intensified in the installation that Rist created in the gallery’s (working) lavatory: a video camera shoots the “interiors” from the bottom of the toilet and shows them on a screen on the bathroom wall. Pipilotti Rist also transforms the Gallery space in a Seventies kitsch apartment, with bedroom, kitchen and living room. An atmosphere of alcove on galactic patrol is evoked by the dark walls in a room where shimmering little stars flow, and gratified anatomical parts (breasts, nose, feet, ears, tongue, penis) float. The living room – cluttered with objects, furniture, and real and virtual decorations – offers a chromatic scale worthy of Pedro Almodovar’s movies.

Micaela Giovannotti
Translation by Bruna Pegoraro Brylawski