Pipilotti Rist

b. 1962, Grabs, Switzerland. Lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland


Pipilotti Rist
Pipilotti Rist, You Called Me Jacky, 1990 (still)


Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist produces experimental multi-channel video installations that often invite viewers into new dazzling spaces. Combining camera-specific aesthetics with a sensual vocabulary, her colourful environments hover between the familiar and the strange. Kaleidoscopic videos are projected onto walls, floors, ceilings or furniture, while sound and light effects further immerse viewers in the artist’s near-psychedelic universes. In a world saturated with images, Rist’s works provide an alternative space which explores the philosophical and poetical relationship between nature, the body and technology.

In Victim of this Song (1995), Rist created her own version of the famous song "Wicked Game," written by American rock musician Chris Isaak. She interprets the song in a sentimental manner and forces her voice up to an extreme pitch. Images of the sky, young couples and a restaurant dining room are juxtaposed with nostalgic footage of hands manipulating old photographs. With a woman reinterpreting the male original, Rist’s version questions stereotypical female roles in romantic relationships, as well as the capitalist systems packaging of longing and desire.

Taking its title from the song by Kevin Coyne, You Called Me Jacky, sees Pipilotti Rist facing the camera performing to pre-recorded tape. Her image slowly begins to fade under a stream of superimposed images of train journey passing through stations through non-descript European towns into the countryside. Rist's work has a preoccupation with presenting an opposing view to MTV styled commercial clips with stereotyped images of performers and their rapid editing. Rist's direct performance is complete with its imperfections is opposed to the act of miming to a pre-recorded tape for commercial consumption and interpretation, using only the simplest of filmic effects – that of superimposition.