Pipilotti Rist: Spear to Heaven
July 19–September 16, 2012

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
747-18 Hannam-Dong, Yongsan-Gu
Seoul, Korea 140-893
Hours: Tue–Sun, 10:30–6pm

T +82 2 2014 6900


Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is delighted to present Pipilotti Rist: Spear to Heaven from 19 July to 16 September in 2012 as the second media art exhibition of the “Black Box Project.” Pipilotti Rist is a world-renowned video artist from Switzerland and this will be her first solo exhibition in Korea.

Born Elisabeth Charlotte Rist, the artist fashioned a new identity for herself with the name ‘Pipilotti,’ borrowed from a character in a novel by Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren called Pippi Longstocking (whose full name is Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking). Rist began working in the field of video art in the late 1980s, gaining recognition with works reminiscent of music videos, commercial advertisements, and movie trailers. She emerged on the international art scene in 1994, when her artwork was shown in the Swiss Pavilion at the São Paulo Biennial, and received the Premio 2000 award at the Venice Biennale in 1997. Since then, she represented Switzerland for the 2005 Venice Biennale and held solo exhibitions at major museums such as Centre Pompidou in Paris, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and Hayward Gallery in London. Especially, her solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2008 entitled Pipilotti Rist: Pour Your Body Out (7354 cubic meters) was hugely successful as it featured an immersive environment that incorporated sculptural elements to her characteristic video work.

Rist has shown an ongoing interest in exploring undiscovered areas of art with her provocative imagination that disrupts conventions. Her works spontaneously traverse the boundary between the illusory and the real by orchestrating exuberant color schemes, sensuous and enthralling images, and music. Throughout her career, Rist has focused on powerful visual effects and the human body. Her early works such as I’m Not the Girl Who Misses Much (1986) borrows the form of popular culture while combining music and psychedelic images for the ludicrous sarcasm on conventional images of women and her recent artistic concern is more focused on spectacular video installations as exemplified by Lobe of the Lung (2009). Her works sublimate humans’ inner conflicts into video art by applying radiant colour palettes; abstract, hypnotic music; and a melancholic yet strangely pleasing atmosphere.

Spear to Heaven (2012), occupies the entire space of the Black Box with its images and sound. Four projectors moves around to generate images, which are projected onto the translucent drapes installed throughout the Black Box so as to transform it into a space of enchantment and fantasy and to allow one to enjoy a sense of unfettered freedom. The oval-shaped images resemble eyes travelling along blood vessels, or else the view of an outside landscape through another person’s eye. Furthermore, the body of the viewer walking through the translucent tunnels is integrated into the artwork and the viewer is encouraged to become conscious of new aspects of her own body by appreciating it from a different perspective. Spear to Heaven delivers an experience of visual art one experiences with eyes, ears, and the whole body.

The Black Box Project
Black Box at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is constructed in the form of a dark room floating in the air, seventeen meters high from the ground. It is designed by Rem Koolhaas specifically for the art form of media art, whose potential as the dominant art form of the future Koolhaas firmly believes in. Since 2010 Leeum has organized and carried out the “Black Box Project” in order to animate such distinctive feature of the Black Box and to widen the infrastructure of contemporary art by introducing with great enthusiasm those media artists who have not been properly evaluated and esteemed despite their considerable influences on the passages of both domestic and international art scenes.

The “Black Box Project” utilizes to the maximum the spatial attribute of the Black Box that all of its four sides are closed except its entrance, and is enabled by high-definition and multi-channel apparatuses to accommodate the provision of perfect qualities of sound and image so that the works of art to be shown here are able to be fully realized and appreciated under most favorable conditions.

Curated by Hyesoo Woo, Chief Curator, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art.
Sponsored by Samsung Life Insurance, co. Ltd.

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art was opened in central Seoul in 2004 and provides a unique environment to house the comprehensive collections of traditional and contemporary art in Korea. Three buildings make up the composite complex. MUSEUM 1 is devoted to the exhibition of traditional Korean artwork. MUSEUM 2 showcases modern and contemporary works by both Korean and foreign artists. Finally, the Samsung Child Education & Culture Center supplements the two Museums by contributing to the cultural education of our future leaders. This cultural complex was designed by three internationally acclaimed architects, Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel, and Rem Koolhaas. The three buildings exist in harmony with each other, though each piece has its own uniqueness. These architectural works are designed to accommodate the past, present, and future of art and culture.

The museum is committed to establishing and preserving a new interpretation and perspective of traditional Korean art, encouraging and presenting new trends in Korean modern art, and displaying international contemporary art that reflects the preeminent values of our time.

Photo: Pipilotti Rist „Spear to Heaven”, 4 channel video installation