Pipilotti Rist

Pipilotti Rist was born Elisabeth Charlotte Rist on June 1962 in Switzerland. She was nicknamed for the novel Pippi Longstocking. Rist studied commerical art, illustration and photography at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and would later go on to study video at the School of Design in Basel. In addition to her work as a video artist, Rist was also a member and performer in her band Les Reines Prochaines between 1988 to 1994. Rist also just recently finished her first feature film Pepperminta, which she¬† began filming in 2005, last year. Rist’s works primarily focus on issues dealing with gender, sexuality and the human body.

Rist’s work is quite beautiful in that it exudes a very feminine, colorful and refreshing quality about it that despite its edge, makes one smile. My favorite piece is her Ever is all over video installation from the MoMA in 2007. She makes a strong feminist statement in this video, which depicts a beautiful young woman smashing in car windows with a large tulip. It is perhaps symbolic of the elevation of the female over what has been stereotypically linked to man’s sense of masculinity; his car. Sometimes, a woman scorned by a man will seek revenge by attacking his car, as it represents or contains one of his sources of pride. A man’s car is directly linked to his masculine sense of self. The female cop who smiles and ignores the protagonists destruction of property further emphasizes the feminist theme, in which the woman’s behavior is condoned. The woman smiles as she smashes the windows, skipping between cars even, which leads the viewer to believe this destruction is cathartic. The juxtaposition of the scene with the woman against a scene of flowers further solidifies the overtly feminine theme of the overall work.