Pipilotti Rist receives Zurich art award

Pipilotti Rist and her work displayed in New York's Time Square in April last year Keystone Archive

Pipilotti Rist, one of Switzerland's most glamorous video artists, has been awarded the Zurich art award on Monday.

This content was published on December 3, 2001 minutes

Bice Curiger, curator of the art museum in Zurich, described the 39-year-old video artist as "an artist with extraordinary talents" during the award ceremony.

"Pipilotti Rist defies gravity, makes solid stuff liquid, turns negative into positive and makes cold things hot," she said in her speech.

The Zurich art prize is not the first award Rist has received for her extravagant work. The artist, who was given a scholarship to attend a film school in 1991 and 1993, received the Zurich film award in 1992.

In the past few years Rist has received international recognition and has exhibited her art works at home and abroad. In 1997 she showed her art in the Biennale in Venice and Istanbul.

The feminist has displayed her work in renowned museums such as the Guggenheim in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago. Last year one of her video installations was displayed at New York's Time Square.

Carefree art

Her carefree and playful lifestyle has become the trademark of her art, which is intelligent and kitschy at the same time.

Human feelings, sensual fantasies and a slightly anarchic wit are important elements of her work.

In an interview with the daily newspaper "TagesAnzeiger" the artist said the playful elements in her work could be a reason for her success.

"My work has strange, utopian and naïve tendencies. Even though the pain and tragedy are not necessarily the centre of my work, these elements are always there," she said.

Rist told the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" that personal matters have always influenced her work.

"The starting point is always extremely private and personal, such as broken hearts, psychosomatic problems and mortal fear. Everything originates from my very personal feelings," she said.

After the initial idea is turned into a work of art, the artist tries to concentrate more on the positive side, however, she hopes not to eliminate the pain completely.

"It is important to feel the pain, which is still lingering somewhere in the corners," she said.

At the end of this year the artist will give up her atelier in Zurich and move to the United States, where she will lecture at the University of California in Los Angeles.


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