The work of Pipilotti Rist is, on its own, phenomenal merely for its ability to be self aware. Aware of its place in historical context. Aware of its effects on the viewer. Aware of its own temporality as a work of art.
For this reason, it comes as little surprise to discover that the artist behind the works is of the very same quality. Rist does not look far ahead without looking first further behind. She has an immense appreciation of her roots – ranging from Yoko Ono to the likes of Nam June Paik – and all while questioning her own place in the development of her works and the medium.
Rist is truly one of a kind. She seems sensible enough to understand her audience, yet constantly retreats to a world of her own that devours her kandor and produces truly perplexing works – in the best possible way.
Take I’m Not the Girl Who Misses Much, for instance. The blurred image of a female singing in a sped-up, high pitch voice grows odder and odder as the female breaks out into spastic dancing and tapping within the confined viewpoint of the video. Cut-ins and glitched segments create breaks within the video which continues to play through with the spastic cries and dances of the female on screen. The effect is chilling and hard to watch both due to the nuisance of the vocal pitch but more so due to the seeming sense of desperation that permeates through the film.
Impressed by her works, I am left with the feeling that Rist is, in fact, a special type of artist. She knows her place in the context of the art world and works hard to foster relationships with other artists to challenge herself and her works. That is the sign of a true artist.