| Interview |
Pipilotti Rist interviewed by Patricia Bickers
Pipilotti Rist Homo sapiens sapiens 2005
Patricia Bickers: We first met at the Venice Biennale in 1993, in what was to be the last Aperto, and, some 12 years later, you represented Switzerland in the Biennale, at the deconsecrated baroque church of San Staë where you showed Homo sapiens sapiens – a sumptuous contemporary version of a work made in di sotto in sù. I’d like to ask you about this work since it is characteristic of your immersive sound and video pieces. What was it like working in that space? Pipilotti Rist: The Swiss government helped pay for the renovation of this church, which is why it is now used as a second Swiss pavilion. I was extremely interested to work in this space. The way I normally work in a space is that I adapt to it. In this case, I decided that I did not want to take over the church, but rather to be almost not there.
The work was made with four projectors placed on the ground projecting upwards on to the ceiling so that, when you lie down on the cushions and look up, you can’t see where the video image begins or ends because of the capital frieze. The computer image had to be compressed so that it became square, distorting the perspective. It has to do with the idea of the spirit rising up into heaven. It was how I imagined Paradise to be before the Fall of Man.
In your vision of Paradise you refuse to surrender to the idea of the mind and body split. Instead you bring body and mind together in some notional, gloriously guiltless, prelapsarian space. I appreciate that you see it like this. Sin is so much linked to images. The idea is so deeply ingrained in us that we are full of sin from the moment we are born, that life is only a test and that the real life is the afterlife. I wanted to create something that would wash out our old pains.
OCT 11 | ART MONTHLY | 350
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