Hauser & Wirth presents two exhibitions of new video works by Pipilotti Rist, unveiled in parallel presentations across its London and Somerset galleries. For the artist’s London exhibition, ‘Worry Will Vanish’, Rist has transformed the gallery into a fully immersive, and sensory video environment. Projected against two walls, angled so the viewer feels that if they are ‘entering’ the work – ‘Worry Will Vanish’ (2014) is a journey inside the human body, based on a three-dimensional animation.
Pipilotti Rist was born in Grabs in the Swiss Rhine Valley in 1962. Since emerging on the international art scene in the mid-1980s and 1990s with single channel videos such as ‘I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much’ (1986) and ‘Pickelporno’ (1992), Rist has had numerous solo and group exhibitions and is one of the most celebrated video artists working today. In 2010 the artist received the ‘Cutting the Edge Award’ by Miami International European Film Festival. In 2012, Rist was awarded the Harper’s Bazaar Art China prize for ‘Best Artist’, and in June 2013, she was awarded the Zurich Festival Prize 2013.
The artist has fun with this video work, creating patterns by manipulating corporeal images that periodically overlap with close-up fragments from nature as Rist blurs the boundaries between the self and the organic, and micro and macro landscapes – exploring the relationship between internal and external – how individuals are linked to the tissues and blood vessels of other organisms, and the work thus expands to the universe at large. It’s all great fun.
The artist’s video footage appears as a kaleidoscopic journey through the immersive images from ‘reality’, as glistening spider webs and dew-laced foliage merge with a constellation of stars, and the viewer journeys through the interior of the body, and out into the void. The artist has collaborated with musician Anders Guggisberg on the sound that accompanies the video so that ‘Worry Will Vanish Horizon’ also has something many video installations do not: a musical score.
This merely serves to underpin the nature of the work; the installation does not shy away from its relationship to club imagery from alternative culture – it merely increases its meaning. ‘Worry Will Vanish’ is a participatory experience; in much the same way. Upon entering the gallery I was asked to remove my shoes, walk between denim curtains into a larger-than-average space for a video work – instantly affording the piece a sense of the cinematic – it was at this point that I noticed the duvets spaced evenly throughout the installation; some of which already had viewers residing upon them – or even underneath.
I had left the hustle of Savile Row beneath black skies, and threatening rain drops – the notion of rushing to the office was beginning to fade as I settled into my duvet and fell headlong into a that kaleidoscopic video piece; and I confess that ‘social inhibitions’ and the ‘heavy burden’ of my journalistic responsibilities were dissipating – it could be said that stress was indeed vanishing. Apparently the artist has drawn on principles of ‘Autogenic Training’ to facilitate my process of relaxation, this was a technique developed in 1932 by the German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz. I might have been annoyed at the attempt to manipulate my mood; if it hadn’t been so successful.
At any rate, as I looked around I saw individuals – some of which were probably on their lunch break – curled up and genuinely immersed in their lunchtime journey – one that didn’t involve a ‘trip’ to the office printer. So as I tried to people watch, I instead became engrossed with the ‘Kubrickian’ journey past leaves and landscapes, through the inside of human hands, and across space. I suddenly understood how Arthur C. Clarke’s character David Bowman felt as he fell into the Monolith at the end of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.
At one point the journey was interrupted by snoring – and I fell back to the world with a thud – but this interruption was soon alleviated by a very considerate gallery invigilator [who had earlier told me not to use my flash] and I soon returned to my ‘Kubrickian immersion’ – indeed if it wasn’t for the fact that I became concerned for my shoes – tried the wrong pair on – and realised that I was back underneath black skies and had a review to write – I might well still be there.
Pipilotti Rist: Worry Will Vanish – Hauser & Wirth – until Jan 10 2015
Words: Paul Black Photo: P A Black © Artlyst 2014 photo Artlyst all rights reserved