Pipilotti Rist found an interview of her 19-year old self saying: ‘I want to create rooms where people meet, feel comfortable and watch videos. Now I have done that at the Hayward Gallery!’, she exclaims. Pipilotti and I are standing outside her private view on a surprisingly warm September night. She is wearing bright colours and aluminium-framed glasses and enthusing about her first UK exhibition called Eyeball Massage.
She expresses an instant connection with the work of MSL, of the stories that women’s clothes tell. Inside the gallery she has created ‘places of comfort for parched minds’, she says, with soft carpets and cushions created from old items of clothing, t-shirts, jumpers and trousers plumped up to encourage people to relax.
Above our heads huge soap bubbles float towards the river and burst in little puffs of smoke. Earlier in the evening Piplotti encouraged me to scramble along the concrete ledge to examine close up the machine that creates the bubbles, calling down to her friends from Switzerland below.
As the light fades from the sky her new installation outside glows: 300 pairs of white underpants on washing lines illuminated from within. And inside, a chandelier of pants welcomes you to the gallery! Her video installations employ dazzling colour and sensual images, linked by text and sound and you immediately want to immerse yourself in them, kneeling or sitting on the floor. The tiniest video projection is a beautiful pool of colour set in the floor from which a woman cries out in German, Italian and English, ‘I am a worm and you, you are a flower’.
Pipilotti’s squeaks of delight as each of her collaborators is named in the opening speeches, her art which is filled with humour, underline an unselfconscious positivity: ‘my agenda is hope. I like to create environments where visitors are the important element.’
I think Pipilotti is wonderful.