Art Review: Pipilotti Rist @ the Hayward

Londonist was offered a ticket to check out the new show by Pipilotti Rist at the Hayward Gallery, so we sent along guest reviewer and erstwhile artist Donna Brindley. Here’s what she made of it…

I didn’t know what to expect before entering Pipilotti Rist: Eyeball Massage – I’d read no reviews nor even heard of the Swiss artist until today, which is a good way of entering any gallery space. No preconceptions and no raised expectations, just have a look around and hope, at best, to be inspired in some way.

So it was time well spent at the Hayward then, on discovering this fabulously sensual environment. Eyeball Massage is a collection of installations that incorporate endlessly looping video projections – some on the wall, but some hidden inside handbags, large shells or in hard to reach places requiring the spectator to twist, turn or tiptoe to see what’s going on. Reds and greens are a constant, as are large voile-like panels which either serve as a projection screen or to veil pieces of work from the immediate gaze.

The result is something very soft and quiet on the senses, work that envelops the spectator into the displays. I loved the ambience and can still sense the rich sights and sounds in this strange but non-threatening space. Congratulations to both artist and the Hayward here – all the works flowed together seamlessly – keeping the spectator cocooned within a little pleasure dome.

My favourite piece is Massachusetts Chandelier (2010), a huge chandelier made up of an intriguing assortment of male and female pants (to use the English vernacular), some big, some small, some sexy, some practical. The piece is lit up by two projections – inside and outside – and is oddly rather beautiful to behold.

Don’t take my word for it, if you have a lunchtime to spare, treat yourself, linger a while and absorb the sounds and colours: it’s really rather lovely.

By Donna Brindley

Eyeball Massage is on at the Hayward until 8 January 2012, £8. You can see a trailer for the show here.

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