New Criticals

In Rist's 2009 "Pour Your Body Out", a site-specific installation at the Modern Museum of Art in New York, she climbs out of a pool of water, wearing white underwear from which period blood drips, deep red and disarmingly, given widespread disgust at the thought, until the water becomes a crimson tide. The color saturated the space. The New York Times described it as creating “a womblike comfort zone” before noting, “You don’t need to be a feminist critic to understand the significance of a female artist unleashing a red torrent on MoMA’s immaculate white walls.”  The text that accompanied the video installation read, “Practice stretching: pour your body out of your hips or watch through your legs. Rolling around and singing is also allowed!” Pretty good for a woman whose name is a childhood endearment taken from the Astrid Lindgren’s feminist heroine, Pippi Longstocking.

Rist has been defining video art and the uses of technology in installation for decades. She has, very consciously, embraced both the pop culture label often ascribed to her work and talked about her art as explicitly addressing social change. Her hypnotic and sensual visions bathe viewers in saturated colours, immersive sounds and visions of nature that go far beyond sexual suggestiveness, touching on technology, mechanization, institutionalization, gender and the limitations it imposes.