on pipilotti rist

it would be easy to say that Pipilotti Rist’s installations at the New Museum are a kitschy and simple grab at Instagram aficionados — vivid, oft-kaleidoscopic projections, oneiric melodies, nudity, sex & colors, pillows and mattresses dispersed throughout where onlookers rest like flower petals post-bloom — yet that is and always has been the style of the Swiss artist, who has been experimenting with our relationships with multimedia, nature & the textures of being human since the late ‘80s.

having first encountered her work in a now-ambiguous magazine nearly a decade ago, I subsequently forgot about Rist, only acknowledged her via the vibrant paper snowflakes I had cut up from her print (and obviously pasted upon my bedroom wall, an aesthetic fitting for a thirteen-year-old girl). but that, along with my TV with the built-in VCR, was soon removed with time. once I learned that she had returned to NYC, however, I was quick to reacquaint myself with her work.

the second floor was dense with crystalized balls of light strung on thin wires, stretched floor to ceiling, flickering & breathing the spectrum of the rainbow; from beyond played meditative, heartening songs of string instruments. I walked through this field, feeling as though I was on my own, on an intimate psychedelic trip, despite being in a room with fifty other people. stranger still, I felt that same inner anxiety often experienced with psilocybin — hunger without appetite, sweaty palms, heavy breath, and that innate desire to immerse myself in foliage, flowers, trees, to be removed from the web of technology. and yet, that is all I was surrounded by: a Pixel Forest.


Rist’s exhibition at the New Museum, which spans over three floors, is her most extensive ever displayed in New York, following only a smaller-but-similar installation a the MoMA in 2009.


Originally written in December of 2016.