By Julia Siedenburg
Art Squat presents: Pipilotti Rist - Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor
The exhibit of the Swiss, Pipilotti Rist, at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in downtown Los Angeles was like stepping into a weird and beautiful Wonderland.
But first, a bit more information about the artist: The local Zurich visual artist mainly specializes in video and installation art. She is currently in her 60s, but her imagination continues to thrive and grow. You could say she is unstoppable as this exhibit is a collection of more than 30 years of her work.
Her experimental work is often described as surreal, intimate, abstract art. The female body is one of the subjects she explores the most in her female-dominated work.
The Big Heartedness, be my neighbor show was the first West Coast exhibit of the internationally renowned artist, which ran until July 2022.
As the Geffen Contemporary Museum stated so well: Rist’s installations explore relationships of video and the body; exterior environments and interior psychological landscapes; and reason and instinct.
She transformed the space into a whole different world. Starting from the 29 Palms Chandelier made out of underwear and aluminum to walking into the Pixel Forrest Transformer that reminds me of a little piece of fairy heaven. The changing colors of the LED string lights sway around you as you make your way through it.
Up close, they remind me of big translucent sea shells reflecting the different shades of the sunset and the ocean.
Next to the Forest on the left and right are building structures that you can step into. Outside of the buildings are vibrant videos reflected.
One is a close-up of leaves moving in the wind close to a lake.
The others are sea creatures and eyes specifically placed onto the windows. Inside the building with the windows are a couple of rooms showcasing different videos playing in a loop. One that stood out especially was a beautiful woman walking down the street with a big sunflower. She looks happy and calm though suddenly she swings the flower high up and casually smashes the car windows around her. Even the police officer and civilians walking past do not seem to care.
Besides the odd yet extremely fascinating and mesmerizing digital stories shown, the other part that stood out especially was the third building that even though it had not any projections on the front had, even more, to offer inside.
Designed like a “regular” loft with a bed, closets, and dresser, a couch area, a dining table, and some seating puffs grouped on the floor from which you could watch the back walls being covered in a close-up installation of a flower field.
All furniture was in fact able to be used. The bed was lit in the colors of the galaxy and mandalas projected on top of the dining table. Besides the pieces in the middle, there was, even more, to discover on the rest of the walls.
More projection on decoration features and paintings besides small figures and puppets that seemed to be placed in a way that gave the feeling of controlled chaos inside Alice’s Wonderland… Or should rather say Pipilotti’s Wonderland.
Once you indulge enough in this magical room, the final piece in this wild ride of an exhibit is a rather minimalist miniature room with the moon placed inside of it. Besides, it stands a step ladder next to it for you to take a look from above.
And that concludes Pipilotti Rist - Big Heartedness, be my neighbor. I hope wherever you are dear readers, you are inclined to look her work up or even see if you can find out any near exhibits to you that let you experience it for yourselves. Because I am not sure I am doing the world and greatness she created enough justice.