Pipilotti Rist at Hauser & Wirth London and Somerset

31 October 2015 § Leave a comment

I am relaxing in a deep duvet as vividly coloured and seductive images glide gently by. Ill-defined body parts morph in to rich natural landscapes. In a kaleidoscopic reimagining of reality glistening spider webs and dew-laced foliage merge with eyeballs and elbows.

Pipilotti Rist Hauser & Wirth

If all this sounds like drifting in to some morphine induced dream, I should explain that I am not tucked up in a warm bed, but rather slouched on the expansive floor of Hauser & Wirth’s Savile Row gallery as I take in one of the latest immersive video works of artist Pipilotti Rist.

photo 1 copy

Rist has been taking a year-long residency at Hauser & Wirth’s Durslade Farm where she created the body of work now exhibiting at their London and Somerset spaces. In London Rist has created a fully immersive, sensory environment.

Pipilotti Rist Hauser & Wirth

Projected against two walls, ‘Worry Will Vanish Horizon’ is a journey inside the human body where corporeal images periodically overlap with close-up fragments from nature.

Pipilotti Rist Hauser & Wirth

Pipilotti Rist Hauser & Wirth

Boundaries are blurred between the self and nature as she explores the relationship between internal and external; how individuals are linked to the tissues and blood vessels of other organisms, and in so doing, she suggests relationships with the universe at large.

Pipilotti Rist Hauser & Wirth

Rist has also collaborated with artist and musician, Anders Guggisberg, on a laid-back accompanying soundtrack. The combined sensory environment is a warm and cosy place, and a joyous celebration of audio, texture and colour where worry does indeed almost immediately vanish and time drifts easily by.

Pipilotti Rist Hauser & Wirth

Meanwhile around the immaculately restored Somerset farm buildings, a bunting of underpants and knickers flaps in the country breeze. Illuminated from within as dusk falls, they become a celebratory washing line.

Pipilotti Rist Hauser & Wirth

In the galleries, sheepskin replaces duvets for another immersive video, this time accompanied by a banjo soundtrack. Once again Rist celebrates the interaction of the human body and environment in ‘Mercy Garden’. We follow a local farmer as he gently interacts with nature before also taking us out to sea, where we float, swim and observe.

Pipilotti Rist Hauser & Wirth

In the next space the installation Sleeping Pollen features mirrored spheres that slowly revolve over the gallery. Images of nature fall on to the darkened walls, dimly lit from the green and red acetate covered doors and windows.

If only everyone shared this joyous celebration of humanity and nature. It is a sheer pleasure to join Rist’s delightful world – even if it is just for far too short a stay.

Worry Will Vanish is at Hauser & Wirth London until 10 January 2015; Stay Stamina Stay is at Hauser & Wirth Somerset until 22 February 2015.

For more information visit www.hauserwirth.com

Hauser & Wirth Somerset opens with Phyllida Barlow Gig

31 July 2014 § Leave a comment

Hauser & Wirth are one of the powerhouses of worldwide contemporary art with galleries in Zurich, London, New York, Los Angeles and Bruton. Yes, you read that right, Bruton – a sleepy village home to some three thousand souls, a handful of pubs and a couple of takeaways.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
So why Somerset? The first thoughts are that the site is perhaps ideal for the outdoor display of large scale sculptures or that it could be considered a refreshing alternative to the widely prevalent ‘white cube’ city galleries. But whilst these thoughts are both in some way correct it is soon apparent that there is much more to the story.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
Whilst Bruton may well turn out to be a great commercial success the deciding elements were much more personal. Back in 2005 Iwan and Manuela Wirth decided to live temporarily in England, at least in part so that their children were schooled for a while experiencing a different culture and language.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
Before long their attachment became much deeper. They developed a love of the Somerset countryside, moved in to their own medieval house before discovering the almost derelict Durslade Farm. They quickly purchased the 18th century property and set about its restoration.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
The work that has been done is astonishing – a labour of love that has drawn on their considerable contact list. The run-down buildings have been sympathetically restored with old stone, brick and traditional materials, whilst new extensions are hidden behind the old facades.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
The very best architects and designers were given virtual free rein and have given new life to the historic buildings, creating no less than five gallery spaces plus offices, educational spaces, bar, bookshop and restaurant. Outside a muddy pasture is now a stunning garden, created by Piet Oudolf no less – the internationally-renowned designer behind New York’s High Line and the Queen Elizabeth Park at the London Olympic site.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
I have yet to move on to the contents of the space and again it is hard to rein in the superlatives. The galleries will of course house some of the world’s finest contemporary art. Since the first gallery opened its doors in 1992 at the old Löwenbräu brewery building in Zurich Hauser & Wirth have steadily built up a remarkable stable of artists, now represening giants like Allan Kaprow, Paul McCarthy, Ron Mueck, Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois, amongst many others.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
The first to occupy the main gallery spaces is Phyllida Barlow, who recently wowed the art world with her striking installation ‘Dock’ at Tate Britain (see our review here), and is similarly impressive with this show. Entitled ‘Gig’ it commands the four varied spaces it occupies, her ramshackle aesthetic of accumulated fabric scraps and building materials nicely commenting on the cycle of dereliction and renovation work just completed at the site.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
As would be anticipated the bar and restaurant doesn’t just serve top quality food (courtesy of At The Chapel, Bruton) but is also an ‘installation’ by artists Bjorn & Oddur Roth with sundry fine artworks lining the dining room walls.
 With a big educational and artist residency programme plus a distinct community bias this is an establishment of huge ambition and matching quality. Bound to become an important fixture in the regions cultural and artistic landscape it’s future programme and progress is one to watch.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with Somerset at a kick up the arts.

%d bloggers like this: