This Summer, the interior of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art at Southbank has been transformed into some kind of psychedelic paradise. The entire exhibition space has been given over to a survey of works by noted Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, who is known for her trippy video environments.
Piplotti Rist: Gravity Be My Friend, 2007. From ACCA website
As you walk into the first gallery space, you enter a dark, ambient room containing only a table with a lamp above it which is projecting strangely turning images of flowers and meadows onto the table. On the wall is a painting of a scene in Venice with more flowers projected onto it, serving as a backdrop and light-source for the contents of the painting. As the images whirl and change, the appearance of the painting changes, so that you can no longer tell what is part of the painting and what is part of the video.
The second gallery space is the largest and, in my opinion, the most awe-inspiring. On the floor are two raised areas made from layers of carpet piled on top of each other. You can lie on these platforms and look up at the two massive, blob-shaped screens attached to the ceiling. On these screens are showing two looped videos of a beautiful woman walking in a meadow, picking flowers, swimming in a lake wearing a sparkling, beaded bikini, and crushing luscious berries between her fingers whilst submerged in the water. All this is accompanied by an ethereal-sounding soundtrack.
When you watch these videos, and the others that make up the exhibition, you come to realise how closely linked the bodily and the heavenly are. The videos are extremely sensual, and the bright colours and gem-like appearance they have is reminiscent of a transcendental state. You are in a paradise, and paradise is shown to be an entirely sensory, sensual experience.
Pipilotti Rist: I Packed the Postcard in My Suitcase' is on at ACCA until March 4, 2012. There's not much time left to see it, but ACCA is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 am til 5 pm and on weekends and public holidays from 11 am til 6 pm, so there are still plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse. ACCA is located at 111 Sturt Street, Southbank. Their website can be found here, where they have plenty of information about this exhibition.