Zurich-born artist Pipilotti Rist broke all visitor records with her exhibition ‘Sip my Ocean’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney (MCA). The museum was stretched to the limits of its capacity.
The director of the MCA, Elizabeth Macgregor was surprised at the overwhelming success of the Rist exhibition, the Swiss News Agency SDA reported on Sunday. Official statistics have not yet been released by the tourism authorities, but Macgregor estimates that there were roughly 20 to 30 % more visitors compared to any previous year since the museum opened in 1991.
For the first time in its history, the MCA had to limit the number of admissions during peak times. It also imposed a selfie ban as well as completely smartphone-free viewing times to prevent people from spending too long in the exhibition halls.
In an interview with SDA, Macgregor said that the success of the exhibition had a lot to do with the influence of social media, but also with the unique personality and approach of the artist herself. Rist places colourful video performances projected on to the ceiling of the exhibition space at the heart of her work and invites people to watch them on sofas and beds put up around the halls.
The museum director also said that that the influence of Sydney as a host city also contributed to the appeal and reach of the exhibition. According to her, a huge number of visitors from Asia came to see it. For them, looking at this kind of art is important because it allows them to discuss women’s bodies and issues in public much more freely than they would be able to in their home countries.