Qatar Museums (QM) will open Electric Idyll – the first survey exhibition dedicated to renowned contemporary Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962) in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region — at the Fire Station: Artist in Residence in Doha on February 23.
Designed as a single, comprehensive installation spanning the more than 650sqm exhibition space of the Fire Station’s Garage Gallery, Electric Idyll presents a diverse collection of some of the artist’s most celebrated works combined with new participatory pieces created specifically for this exhibition.
Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, the exhibition opens as part of the special February gathering of Qatar Creates. It will remain on view until June 1.
Emerging in the 1990s as part of a generation of artists who explore the connections between technology, nature, and the spectacle of omni-pervasive images in contemporary societies, Rist has been internationally celebrated for her video installations, which combine immersive projections and communal experiences of dreamlike contemplation.
For Electric Idyll, Rist develops the exhibition as a hypnotic diorama—an all-encompassing digital landscape comprising 14 works.
In a press statement, QM chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said: “Pipilotti Rist’s work is a favourite among the many people who have enjoyed her lively and immersive installation at the National Museum of Qatar. We are proud and excited to deepen our ties with her by presenting this endlessly fascinating new interactive exhibition, the first of its kind in our region, which she has designed especially for our audiences.
“Technologically advanced in its methods but deeply human in spirit, it is sure to inspire wonder in children in this Year of the Family, while taking adult visitors on a journey to a space where we question how we view the world and each other.”
Surrounded by multicoloured textile wall prints and curtains, the exhibition is connected by a series of “electric islands,” as the artist describes them: interactive displays where the combination of video projections, pieces of furniture, carpets, and domestic objects together create large “still lives” that can be engaged by the audience.
In these “living rooms”—spaces that are both alive and lived in—images are projected onto viewers, effectively turning them and every surface of the gallery into screens and carriers of images. These and the other works on view in Electric Idyll continue Rist’s expansive research into the intersection of human senses and digital technologies, imagining a future in which the biological and the electronic meet in a new body electric.
“When I create a work of art, I am making an offering—a celebration of the beauty and the monstrousness of being alive. To pay tribute to all our senses and the brain, nature gave me my hands: now I give them back to her. I consider all artistic products—from ceramics and paintings to embroidery, films, and music—as offerings,” Pipilotti Rist said.
The exhibition is bookended by Ever is Over All (1997)—the video installation that won Rist the prestigious award for best young artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale—and one of her recent vast digital panoramas, Worry Will Vanish (2015). Additional exhibition highlights include Shapeshifter Window
Inside Out Inside Window Fluid Portal Window, a new series of video installations presented within abstract window frames; and Deine Raumkapsel “Your Space Capsule” (2015), a mesmerising installation that invites viewers to peek at a scene inside a glowing wooden box.
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