MoCA hosts renowned Swiss artist

Pixel Forest. Photo by Diana Kesablyan

By Diana Kesablyan

The Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles is currently running an exhibit called “Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor.” Running through June 6, the exhibit highlights renowned Swiss artist Rist’s vision.

“Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, By my Neighbor” truly challenges one’s perspective on the relationship between the body, technology, inner psychology, and art. With her hypnotic videography being projected upon the walls of each room, and hidden messages of female empowerment, Rist transforms the room from a figment of present reality to one of deeper meaning. 

The Swiss artist has always had a passion for videography, beginning her single-channel videos as early as the 1980s. Throughout the exhibition, museum-goers witness over thirty 30 years of her work. 

What is so intriguing about the exhibition is that Rist brings together everyday objects, video, and decorative forms to allow the viewer the optimum experience. Adding to this level of comfort, the audience is encouraged to sit on the couches, bean bags, benches, and bed within the rooms, although these are part of the exhibit. This invites a transition from being a mere spectator to actually experiencing and being a part of the art. 

“My favorite part of the entire thing was being allowed to lay down on the bed in ‘The Apartment.’ It really let you take in what you were seeing and understand why some things may have been placed there. I also really liked the ‘Das Zimmer’ room because of the huge sofas and working TV controller. I felt like I was controlling the art for a moment, ” senior Narek Tovmasyan said.

With 19 attractions within the exhibition, there are thousands of other items to observe and analyze. 

Perhaps the most popular, albeit boring piece of all, was the “Pixel Forest Transformer.” Although absolutely beautiful, this was, in my opinion, the most lackluster of the showing. Nice to look at, the hanging LED light installation became quite predictable after a while. It wasn’t until after reading about its true intentions I had a true appreciation of the artistry. 

“Pixel Foret Transformer aims for a more truly immersive, intimate experience of video than both traditional projections or screens and virtual-reality technology allows. Dancing to music, the vividly colored lights twinkle and burst through labia-shaped light shades, surrounding the viewer with representation of a part of the female anatomy that has historically been regarded as unmentionable,” according to the brochure. 

Of course, this is the issue with contemporary art. It is not as literal and easy to understand as traditional art forms. Contemporary art begs the viewer to question every aspect of the art and decision of the artist. For some, it is a bunch of mumbo jumbo. For others, it is an exciting challenge. For those like me, it is both. 

If you visit the exhibit, which you should, make sure you spend time not just observing and being a part of the installation, but also that you read about everything you’re looking at to fully understand what you are being immersed in. That way, you’ll appreciate the artistry and the actual art.