Elisabeth Charlotte "Pipilotti" Rist is a Swiss visual artist whose multimedia projections are highly respected for their provocative subjects and stylish presentation. Born in Switzerland, she began making super 8 films while studying in college. Her works generally consisted of issues related to gender, sexuality, and the human body. By the late 1980s, she was producing vivid and slickly made videos which lasted only a few minutes, and contained alterations in their colors, speed, and sound. Since the early 1990s, her films and installations have been shown in museums and galleries, at international biennales and festivals, on television, and in public spaces. Unlike other conceptual artists who take a more intellectual approach, she conveys the critical element of her work by creating an intensely sensual experience. She is renowned for bridging the gulf between popular culture and art, and for merging various media. Although her work is regarded as feminist by some art critics, her colorful visual art transmits a sense of happiness and simplicity to its audience. Throughout her career, her multimedia installations have been capturing the many contradictions and anxieties of modern society. Her experimental works which have been both successful and influential are exhibited at many important art collections worldwide. With her innovative style she has emerged as one of the most recognizable names in contemporary video art.
Childhood & Early Life
She was born as Elisabeth Charlotte Rist, on June 21, 1962 in Grabs, Sankt Gallen, in Switzerland. Later she got the nickname ‘Pipilotti’ after the novel ‘Pippi Longstocking’ by Astrid Lindgren.
From 1982 to 1986, she studied commercial art, illustration and photography at the ‘Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst’ in Vienna. She later studied video at the ‘School of Design’ (Schule für Gestaltung) in Basel, Switzerland.
From 1988 to 1994, she played drums and bass in an all-girl rock band, Les Reines Prochaines (“The Next Queens”).
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
In 1986, her first production titled ‘I’m Not the Girl Who Misses Much’ was released. In the video, she starred as a hysterical brunette singing an altered line from a Beatles song.
In the 1990s, she exhibited at a number of major venues, including the ‘Museum of Contemporary Art’ in Chicago, the ‘Stedelijk Museum’ in Amsterdam, and the ‘National Gallery’ in Berlin.
In 1992, she released ‘Pickelporno (Pimple porno)’, a work about the female body and sexual excitation. The images are charged by intense colors, and are simultaneously strange, sensual, and ambiguous.
Her 1997 video titled ‘Ever is Over All’ shows in slow-motion a young woman walking along a city street, smashing the windows of parked cars with a large hammer in the shape of a tropical flower. The audio-video installation has been purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
From 2002 to 2003 she taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as a visiting faculty member at the invitation of Professor Paul McCarthy.
In 2005, she participated in the Istanbul Biennial and represented Switzerland in the Venice Biennale.
In 2006, she created a commission for the visual identity of the Armory Show, New York.
Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Reykjavik Art Museum; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania; Museum der Moderne Salzburg-Mönchsberg, Austria; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands; Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles; and Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Conn.
In 2009, her first feature film, ‘Pepperminta’, which tells the story of an ‘anarchist of the imagination’, was released at the Venice Film Festival.
Continue Reading Below
In 1998, she was one of six finalists for the Hugo Boss Prize, an award administered every two years by the Guggenheim Foundation for significant achievement in contemporary art, and her single-channel video installation ‘Sip My Ocean’ (1996) was shown at the ‘Guggenheim Museum SoHo’ in New York City.
Her work has been the subject of solo shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; AroS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Tex.; and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y Léon, Spain.
Awards & Achievements
In 1999, she received the prestigious ‘Wolfgang Hahn Prize’ for her distinguished visual works.
In 2001, she was honored with the ‘Art Prize’ of the City of Zurich.
She was the recipient of Zürcher Kunstpreis, Stadt Zürich, Switzerland, in 2001 and an award from the Universität der Kunst, Berlin, in 2004.
In 2009, her video "Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters)" won the award for ‘Best Exhibition Of Digital, Video, or Film’ at the 26th annual awards presented by ‘The International Association of Art Critics (AICA)’. The same year, she also won the ‘Joan Miró Prize’ in Barcelona.
In 2010, she won the ‘Cutting the Edge Award’ at the 27th Annual Miami International Film Festival.
In 2012, she was conferred with the title of ‘International Artist of the Year’ by the Bazaar Art, Hong Kong, China.
In 2014, she received the Best Site Development award from Baukoma Awards for Marketing and Architecture.
Personal Life & Legacy
She lives with her common law partner Balz Roth, with whom she has a son named Himalaya.