Pipilotti Rist had accepted the commission to create the visual identity for The Armory Show 2007. Rist was the sixth artist to define the image of the fair, which has become the worlds preeminent showcase for new art by living artists. For the ninth edition of The Armory Show, which was held February 23-26, 2007 in New York City, images from Rists audio video installations dominated the visual materials.
In an email exchange about the commission Ms. Rist wrote:
I see the Armory Show Commission (rather) as a carte blanche Fluxus piece; people can cut the pages out and hang them on the wall if they want. The video still series for the Armory Show catalogue are still photographs from the audio video installation Homo Sapiens Sapiens" that was shown as the Swiss contribution to the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005 in the San Stae Church in Venice, Italy. The figures move in an imaginary paradise beyond thoughts of guilt and seduction. The pictures are from the Garden of Eden before the fall of man (a strange expression in English!). I wonder where we would be without the deep impression of the Christian/Jewish/Muslim culture. To explore this, I try to make hypothetical pictures that are as free as possible, open up the horizon and expand the radius of movement.
Different strands of religious fundamentalism all over the world have two things in common: condemnation of the human body and the dogma of a division between body and soul. It is a method for intimidating and controlling people and is invariably coupled with contempt for all things feminine. Double standards, limited education, overpopulation and poverty are the consequences. In Venice, I engaged with the meditative rites of the church and the sacred character of Chiesa San Stae. I wanted to show, in the tradition of representations of paradise, the naked human being* as a philosophical creature by adopting a conception of humanity that is free of original sin. (*In my perception, woman is normal and man is the exception. My naked figures are symbolizing most and first the human being" and not their gender.)
I can accept (even if I dont agree) that a group of fundamentalists made a fuss about the installation and made the church close it after 3/4 of the biennale. What really worries me, however, is that these old ideas live on in the heads of most people (even in mine): the naked body is still habitually associated with seduction and guilt. By baring the human body in their works, women artists time and again make explicit the central doctrine of the Church that man and woman was created in the image of what they imagine is God. Images are more powerful in their refutation of such ideas than words I want to capture the strong, healthy, self-confident and free human body in its full presence and its vast scope for action. I am looking for heaven on earth, artistically speaking. I want to propose a positive concept that poses an un-dogmatic alternative to hierarchical structures and I want to celebrate liberation in many senses and invent rites.
Specifications: Pipilotti Rist loves red beets. Her main focus is on video audio installations. She wants to be friendly and she is a bit autistic. She loves machines and children. She means that the task of art is to contribute to the development of evolution, to encourage the brains capacities, to guarantee distant views on social developments, to conjure up positive energies, to reconcile reason and instinct, to research possibilities, to destroy clichés and prejudgments.
pr 12 sept. 06