Electric Idyll Pipilotti
Electric Idyll by Pipilotti Rist
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Until the 1st of June, 2024, Fire Station in Doha (Qatar) is holding Electric Idyll, internationally acclaimed Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist’s first survey exhibition in the MENA region. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, this show is a hypnotic digital landscape featuring a collection of the artist’s iconic works and her new art pieces created specially for the exhibition.

Designed as a single site-specific installation that spans the 650+ sqm exhibition space at the Fire Station, the show maps a multi-sensory journey through nature, gender, and technology. It is dotted by a series of what Rist calls “electric islands”. These are interactive displays in which video projections, furniture, rugs, and domestic objects are employed to create large still lifes that can be engaged by the visitors. In these “living rooms”, videos are projected onto viewers, thus turning them and every surface into screens and carriers of images.

Pipilotti Rist, Electric Idyll (installation view). Fire Station, Doha, Qatar, 2024. Image: © ProLitteris. Courtesy of the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Luhring Augustine.

In the Electric Idyll exhibit, one can see, for example, the Ever is Over All video installation (1997). It won Rist the Award for Best Young Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale and later the Premio 2000 prize. On display is also Worry Will Vanish (2014), an emotional digital panorama meant to portray a journey through the human body. Another work on view is Deine Raumkapsel (Your Space Capsule) (2006), a miniature bedroom in a glowing wooden box. By inviting viewers into this space, Rist reveals an intimate dreamscape where they might exchange subconscious visions.

Deine Raumkapsel, 2006
Pipilotti Rist, Deine Raumkapsel (Your Space Capsule), 2006. Audio video installation. 9 min 59 sec. 3/3 + 1 AP + 1 EP

About the artist

Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962, Grabs, Canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland), who resides in Zurich (Switzerland), studied commercial art, illustration, and photography at the Institute of Applied Arts (Vienna, Austria). In 1988, Rist graduated from the School of Design (Basel, Switzerland), where she studied audio-visual communication. Her career also includes working as a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (USA) in 2002.

Rist emerged in the 1990s as part of a generation of artists who explored the connection between technology, nature, and the spectacle of ubiquitous images in contemporary societies. Her art is mostly described as surreal, intimate, abstract, and feminist. She is widely famous for producing experimental video and audio installations that often revolve around the theme of the convergence of nature and technology. Rist’s installations immerse viewers in vivid colours and kaleidoscopic projections combined with sound elements that are part of a larger environment with spaces for spectators to rest or lounge.

Pipilotti Rist, Welling Color Island, 2023
Pipilotti Rist, Welling Color Island, 2023. Video still. Image: © ProLitteris. Courtesy of the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Luhring Augustine.

The artist has showcased her works in numerous exhibitions, which include Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest and Worry Will Vanish (solo) (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, TX, USA, 2023); ΔΕΚΑ (K-Gold Temporary Gallery, Lesvos, Greece, 2023); All That Was Solid Melts (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland, New Zealand, 2021); Near Focus: Pipilotti Rist (solo) (Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art, Middelburg, Netherlands, 2020); Garden of Earthly Delights (Gropius Bau, Berlin, Germany, 2019); The 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire (Sydney, Australia, 2014); and many others.

Rist is a recipient of multiple awards and honours, such as Bazaar Art International Artist of the Year (Hong Kong, China, 2012), the Cutting Edge Award (Miami International Film Festival, Miami, FL, USA, 2010), the Joan Miro Prize (Fundacio Caixa Girona, Spain, 2009), the Wolfgang Hahn Preis (Museum Ludwig, Köln, Germany, 1999), and the Kwangiu Biennale Award (1997), to name a few.

Pipilotti Rist, Welling Color Island, 2023
Pipilotti Rist, Welling Color Island, 2023. Video still. Image: © ProLitteris. Courtesy of the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Luhring Augustine.

The artist’s works have been added to a plethora of esteemed public collections: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa, Japan), Fundació Joan Miró (Barcelona, Spain), Institut d’art contemporain (Villeurbanne, France), and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebaeck, Denmark), among others.

To learn more about Electric Idyll, please visit the official web page of the exhibition.

You might also be interested in visiting Arte Museum Dubai, a media art exhibition space, and Aya Universe Dubai, an immersive light and sound park.