New Museum, NYC
The New Museum’s three-floor exhibition, Pixel Forest, from Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, is an immersive wonder. If you’re looking for an enchanting, into-the-wilds experience where you can literally lie around — beds and floor cushions are in plenty — then this is the show for you.
Performance and aberrance and scenes from worlds strange are projected on ceilings, walls, floors, upon floating screens, from head-entering boxes and miniature houses, and they range in narrative, if that is even the correct word, from swaying aquatic dreamscapes to blossoming landscapes to the myriad expressions of sensual forms to something that actually looks story-esque.
In “Ever is Over All,” for instance, a woman of fable, in red ruby slippers and a blue chiffon dress (Dorothy of Oz, perhaps?), skips joyously down a city walk smashing car windows in rythmic stride. Her weapon, a long-stemmed iron flower. No story of any real interest here, but for an officer gaining on behind who, rather than an arrest, sanctions the street-long demolition with a salute and a smile, a dodge of a child, as she merrily passes by.
The exhibition is sprawling yet intimate and not always easy. Nor, with so many places to lie, does it allow for the mind to easily drift. On the contrary, it has its own internally rigorous demands that can be, as Clayton Press notes in his Arteviste review, “vexing and often discomforting, for both aesthetic and physical reasons. It has the veneer of happiness, joyousness, and freedom, with its “lite” musical soundtracks, natural world imagery, and soft psychedelic color palettes. It has the accoutrements of comfort…yet, the exhibition and its cluttered installation may trigger a long list of phobias, ranging from agoraphobia (fear of crowded spaces) to mysophobia (fear of germs) to entomophobia (fear of bugs and insects) to technophobia (fear of technology). Subversion seems to be the point. It is not obvious. Hence, it succeeds.”
The New Museum, Manhattan, through Jan 15
Photographs by Christopher Hassett and Rachel Reid Wilkie.