'Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.' Marlene Dumas' poetic and sensual refrain accompanies her figurative watercolours on view in Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) in the southern state of Kerala, India (12 December 2018–29 March 2019).Dumas' new series...
The paintings of Ellen Altfest are ethereal in their detail. Fields of minutiae come together as pulsating images; small brushstrokes of oil paint accumulate over a series of months to single out seemingly innocuous subjects, such as a hand resting atop patterned fabric (The Hand, 2011) or a deep green cactus reaching upwards from beneath a bed of...
On the rooftop of the former Rio Hotel complex in Colombo, it was hard to ignore the high-rise buildings, still under construction, blocking all but a sliver of what used to be an open view over Slave Island, once an island on Beira Lake that housed slaves in the 19th century, and now a downtown suburb. The hotel was set alight during the...
Pipilotti Rist. Photo: Daniel Boud.Back to Conversations
Pipilotti Rist is a Swiss moving image, sculpture and installation artist born in Grabs, Switzerland. In the early- to mid-1980s she studied commercial art, illustration and photography at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and then video at The Basel School of Design. From 1988 to 1994 she was also a member of the pop music/performance group Les Reines Prochaines.
Rist's international profile skyrocketed when she was selected for the 1997 Venice Biennale and then won the Premio 2000 prize for her video Ever is Over All, which showed her walking down a city street smashing the windows of parked cars with a large flower. More recent awards she has won include the Prix Meret Oppenheim (2014) and the Joan Miró Prize (2009).
Rist is now widely acclaimed for her immersive installations that merge organic video projections, music, internal architecture, drapes and furniture. Her upbeat, intensely colourful, light-filled practice—which often references childhood, unexpected scale and pantheism as well as female sexuality—has a distinctly elemental and visceral nature, as well as humour and optimism. The projections are often 'painterly' in the sense of using saturated hues, blurring, patterning, inserted forms and distortion.
'How we perceive scale is completely relative. ... In my work, I am referring to inner human worlds, often most active when you feel safe. When you are in a bed, or your home as a symbol of civilisation which is a protection from the natural extremes of temperature, wind, rain and snow. ... The piece I did with the oversized, red living room had visitors sinking back into something they weren't really aware of anymore; sitting in that huge armchair made you remember the time when everything used to be too big and too high, but it was also a time when you knew: it's all mine. For children, the whole world belongs to them. People acted as if the museum was an extended living room. I like that.'
Rist is obviously not interested in lining her works up in a row in an extended linear plane like paintings spread out on a long wall to be contemplated in individual viewer isolation:
'...I treat collective rooms—such as museums—as a space to invite visitors' whole bodies; a space where groups of people who don't know each other can spend time in a common surrounding. ... for my practice it makes no sense to ignore the three-dimensional space and limit the possible posture of just standing on two feet, as well as neglecting the possibilities of the ceiling.'
Because her work is sensual, bodily and emotional, Rist has over the years had many highly popular large surveys and public commissions. These shows include Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2017–18); Open My Glade (Flatten), Midnight Moment, Times Square, New York (2017); Tactile Lights, Kunsthaus Zürich (2016); Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest, New Museum, New York (2016–17); Your Saliva is my Diving Suit in the Ocean of Pain, Kunsthaus Zürich (2016); Gentle Wave in Your Eye Fluid, Guang Dong Times Museum, Guangzhou, China (2013); and Spear to Heaven, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2012).
In 2009 Rist released Pepperminta—her own full-length feature film about a strong-willed 'anarchist of the imagination'—for festivals and various theatres. In this surrealist presentation Pepperminta (Ewelina Guzik) fearlessly lives according to her own codes, inhabiting her own heightened, rainbow-coloured universe alongside two friends—a reflection of the artist's practice, as you'd expect.
Located on one of the world’s most spectacular sites on the edge of Sydney Harbour, the Museum of Contemporary Art opened its doors to the public in November 1991. Established through a bequest by Australian expatriate artist John Power (1881-1943), who left his personal fortune to the University of Sydney to inform and educate Australians about international contemporary visual art, the MCA is dedicated to exhibiting, collecting and interpreting contemporary art.
The vision of the founding Director Leon Paroissien and Chief Curator Bernice Murphy was manifest from its earliest years – a commitment to innovative programming with ground-breaking exhibitions of contemporary art from Australia, the Asia Pacific region and around the world.
In 1998, the first phase of expansion began when the Museum had access to the whole building and created galleries for solo exhibitions by Australian artists.
A strong emphasis on making the MCA a museum that engages artists with audiences led to a program of significant solo shows by Australian and international artists as well as thematic and group exhibitions. The MCA is a major partner of the Biennale of Sydney. Attendances increased to over 580,000 in 2010, leading to the need for further expansion.
In March 2012, following extensive redevelopment a significantly expanded museum was unveiled to the public. Architect Sam Marshall in conjunction with the Governments Architect's Office has created a striking building that responds to its unique location bringing together the old and new and creating a context for engaging artists with audiences for the 21st century. The new museum houses an entire floor dedicated to the MCA Collection, a National Centre for Creative Learning and a series of site specific artists' commissions.
Hauser & Wirth was founded in 1992 in Zurich by Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser, who were joined in 2000 by Partner and Vice President Marc Payot. A family business with a global outlook, Hauser & Wirth has expanded over the past 26 years to include outposts in Hong Kong, London, New York, Los Angeles, Somerset and Gstaad. The gallery represents over 70 artists and estates who have been instrumental in shaping its identity over the past quarter century, and who are the inspiration for Hauser & Wirth’s diverse range of activities that engage with art, education, conservation and sustainability.
Hauser & Wirth has built a reputation for its dedication to artists and support of visionary artistic projects worldwide. In addition to presenting a dynamic schedule of exhibitions, the gallery collaborates with renowned curators to present museum quality surveys and invests considerable resources in new scholarship and research. Since its earliest days, the gallery has mounted historically significant exhibitions. The inaugural exhibition in 1992 took place at Hauser & Wirth’s first gallery, located in the first-floor apartment of an Art Deco villa in the heart of Zurich; it united mobiles and gouaches by Alexander Calder with sculptures and paintings by Joan Miró. Since then, the gallery has continued to forge an academically rigorous, ambitious program of historic exhibitions, providing a natural home for a number of major 20th-century European and American artist estates, and encouraging a continued and engaging discourse around their oeuvres. These include Louise Bourgeois, The Estate of Philip Guston, The Eva Hesse Estate, Allan Kaprow Estate, Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, The Estate of Jason Rhoades, Dieter Roth Estate and The Estate of David Smith.
Hauser & Wirth is widely admired for a sympathetic approach to restoring historic buildings and giving them a new lease of life as contemporary art spaces that invigorate surrounding communities. From the conversion of its first permanent venue in the former Löwenbräu brewery building that became Hauser & Wirth Zürich in 1996, the gallery has developed and sensitively restored existing structures that respond to their environments, connecting international art with local culture through architecture. In 2003, an Edward Lutyens-designed former bank on Piccadilly became Hauser & Wirth’s first London gallery, while a decade later, in 2013, the legendary Roxy discotheque and skating rink became the gallery’s second New York space. In recent years, the gallery has renovated Durslade Farm, a collection of dilapidated farm buildings in rural Somerset, into world-class art center Hauser & Wirth Somerset, as well as redeveloping a 100,000 sq. ft. former flour mill, the Globe Mills complex, in downtown Los Angeles in 2016. In 2018, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles was awarded Los Angeles Conservancy’s highest honor, the Chair’s Award, which recognizes the importance of preserving the historic places that make Los Angeles unique. Hauser & Wirth is currently constructing its first purpose-built gallery space at 542 West 22nd Street in New York’s West Chelsea art district.
As a publisher specializing in books on modern and contemporary art, Hauser & Wirth has published over 100 titles in its quarter-century history of exhibitions, projects and research. Hauser & Wirth’s publishing activity, brought together under Hauser & Wirth Publishers, consists of monographs, artists’ books, historic exhibition catalogues, collections of artists’ writings and catalogues raisonnés. Hauser & Wirth Publishers works with academics and curators to bring current, leading research to its readers. Its first dedicated bookshop opened in November 2016 in the new home of Hauser & Wirth’s downtown Manhattan gallery.
A commitment to education underpins the Hauser & Wirth exhibition roster. Every show is accompanied by a series of lectures, interactive seminars, innovative workshops, and special events developed for a range of ages and target audiences. These programs are intended to inspire creativity and foster a passion for contemporary art, nature and architecture within all areas of the community. In Somerset, the gallery has created strong links with local schools, universities and charities, and also provides courses for adults and special interest groups. Hauser & Wirth Somerset welcomes around 100 school groups every year. Events include an annual summer school for young people in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic Theatre, seasonal workshops for adults, such as basket weaving, and Open Farm Sunday, a yearly initiative that opens Durslade Farm to visitors, as well as the annual Pumpkin Festival in celebration of the harvest. This public engagement is mirrored in Los Angeles where the learning program aims to instigate a dialog between the works on view and the city’s diverse audiences.
Food comprises a pivotal element of the experience of Hauser & Wirth’s galleries. Bringing together Iwan and Manuela Wirth’s passion for art with their enthusiasm for hospitality, gastronomy and community, the galleries sit alongside a series of bars and restaurants conceived as social gathering spaces. The Roth Bar & Grill in Somerset and Manuela restaurant in Los Angeles provide informal and convivial atmospheres where honest, seasonal and locally-sourced food is served. The Roth Bar & Grill works closely with local farmers, gamekeepers and gardeners, to use entirely local and ethical British produce. Similarly, at Manuela, an urban kitchen garden provides the restaurant with herbs, fruits and vegetables as well as a chicken house and run for the restaurant’s 11 rare-breed chickens.
Also onsite at Hauser & Wirth Somerset is Durslade Farmhouse, a six-bedroom guesthouse within a Grade II-listed farm building, full of character and bold twists that celebrate the natural antiquity of the building. More recently, renovations have begun on The Fife Arms in Braemar, Scotland, an imposing Arts & Crafts hotel currently undergoing extensive restoration to return the building to its former glory. With their deep-rooted investment in community, history, wildlife and landscape, each of the Wirths’ ventures is embedded in the unique heritage and traditions of its local culture.
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