Pipilotti Rist New Museum New York Exhibition The Better Places


For art-lovers the New Museum at the Lower East Side in New York is definitely no insider tip, but the latest exhibition ‚Pixel Forest’ I saw there surely is. It’s because of Pipilotti Rist, a Swiss artist, who isn’t only mind-blowing because of her creations – but also because of her attitude towards life and society.

But first, let me tell you about the exhibition. For Rist the focus in her art isn’t just to show the audience something nice, the spectator becomes part of it.


On the top floor of the museum you find beds to lie down and watch her incredible video installations showing surreal movies with water, plants hands and yes, some human genitals were definitely also in there. But the whole situation and art work by Rist is so aesthetic that you didn’t even mind what you were really seeing. The whole situation – underlined with a calm, beautfiful music by singer and songwriter ‘Soap & Skin’ – got you into a comforted mood and made you feel like you just stepped into another world.

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This installation by Rist you find on the 4th floor. (Photo: New Museum)

At the next floor you find her ‚Pixel Forest’. An arrangement of different LED-light-strings, changing their color slowly to give you a psychdelic, but again relaxed feeling when you stand in between the crystal formed light bulbs. Her two videos “Mercy Garden” and “Worry Will Vanish Horizon” (both from 2014) are alternating on the wall.

We started at the top of the building and went down the stairs. Actually the exhibition was meant to be seen the other way round. But with the fascinated feeling from those video installations, I appreciated her early work – which you find on the first floors – even more.

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Video installations and LED lights: Pipilotti Rist in the New Museum in NYC.


So I wanted to know, who is this person? And why is she able to fascinate with her art like this and to blow your mind in an instance?

When you get to see her earlier videos and installations you see that Rist, who was born in Garbs in Switzerland in 1964, approached art from music and with a special focus on the rock scene in Vienna where she studied. During her studies there, she began arranging video settings for bands, using films and slides.

She decided to focus on video and got enrolled in courses, because she thought it was easier. And you can still see, that this ‘what-the-fuck’-attitude is present in her current art work. So today she is well-known for her approaches towards feminism, pornography and social environments.

So I remembered that I saw her video “I’m not the girl who misses that much” from the 1970s already several times. Because Rist is often named when people talk about the connection of music, arts and moving images. In this video she repeats this song line of the Beatles Song many times and already back then, you could easily fall into a paralyzed mode – or become completely crazy – while watching it.

I found a great quote by Pipilotti Rist about art and society, which made me like her even more: “What I’m more interested in is how they present themselves: if someone is half-naked and having self-confidence or you have the feeling that she has or he has control of the situation. She likes to do it. Then I have nothing against it. But it’s true that society doesn’t talk about such issues. They just talk about whether there is a breast or not, but for me it’s more interesting how the power game of camera and object is shown. And if it’s a cool picture.”

That’s how you watch the video creations by Rist on the 2nd floor. (Photo: New Museum)

So, if you’re in New York until the 15th of January 2017: You better visit this exhibition.

Address: New Museum, 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002, USA


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