Pipilotti Rist at the Times Museum, Guangzhou through December 8, 2013

Guangzhou, a city perhaps less know for its interest in contemporary art, than for its history as old Canton, is the stage for an exhibition curated by Ruijun Shen of German video artist Pipilotti Rist.

Ms. Rist’s exhibition entitled, Gentle Wave in your Eye Fluid is a mix of old and new, with several works created for the location and others like, Open Air, Open My Glade, and Cape Cod Chandelier being older pieces.


In the lobby of the Times Museum, host for this exhibition, Pipilotti’s 2011 Cape Cod Chandelier, is a collection of underwear encircling the Chandelier illuminated from within and over its surface, functioning as a screen for two video projections in the room. The projected images described by curator Konrad Bitteli as, “a psychedelic vortex: a vertiginous view down an endless tunnel: a view deep into an eye, or down a gullet” may serve as an allusion to the female undergarments as the gateway to the world within a world. A place capable of the most basic creative energy, through birth and the vortex of all male desire. This world within is a recurrent theme found within Ms Rist’s oeuvre and it is often mixed with a pallet of plastic textures, fanciful candy colors, and her impish irreverence. There is always a hint of the erotic in her work, found either in the long stem or phallus like head of a flower, in the cavities she explores with her lens, or the in the flick of her tongue.

When so many “big name” video artists are producing work that looks more and more like a Hollywood production, Rist’s endeavors continue to maintain a cottage industry appearance. For example, in the video and audio installation, Open Air she enlists family and friends to engage in a round of swallowing the universe, or so it seems. Childish perhaps, but truly honest and engaging, this video is characteristic of her prankster aesthetic.

There is a love of nature, flowers, and the outdoors evident in the largest installation of this exhibition entitled, Mercy Mercy. This 12 projector, 75 meter long installation transforms the space through the use of red, green, blue and yellow colored gels, which mask the skylights and windows. This is combined with the vivid colors of her video projections. The combination of these elements creates a joyous, yet meditative space. Ms. Rist’s choice of subject matter which we are told is culled from the rural surroundings of Guangzhou include fields of flowers and crops, men working the earth with hoes, and landscape views all subject to the child-like interventions of Pipilotti’s tongue or hands.

Her work is always honest, simple and refreshing and I would recommend venturing to Guangzhou’s Time Museum to take a look at what she has transformed there.

This exhibition runs through December 8, 2013. The Times Museum is open:
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 – 18:00 and closed on Monday
Address:Times Museum, Times Rose Garden, Huang Bian Bei Lu, Bai Yun Da Dao, Guangzhou.


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