The Immersive Installations of Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest and Worry Will Vanish Return to the MFAH

Two works by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist will again transform the Museum’s Cullinan Hall through Labor Day 2023

In March 2023, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, continues its ongoing series of grand-scale, immersive presentations with the opening of Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest and Worry Will Vanish.

This special exhibition brings together two experiential works from the MFAH collection: Pixel Forest (2016), an installation of thousands of hanging LED lights, and Worry Will Vanish (2014), a two channel video projection that takes viewers on a dream-like journey through the natural landscape, the human body and the heavens above.

About the Exhibition:

Pipilotti Rist has been among contemporary art’s chief innovators since the mid-1980s. Her work has pushed the boundaries between video and the built environment, exploiting new technologies to create installations that fuse the natural world with the electronic sublime. Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest and Worry Will Vanish also demonstrates Rist’s profound engagement in what it means to be human in the cosmic cycle of generation and regeneration:

Pixel Forest (2016), which has been custom fabricated by Rist and her collaborator Kaori Kuwabara to span the vast space of Cullinan Hall, consists of 3,000 LED lights encased in resin spheres, and suspended on cables from the ceiling. Each light is controlled by a video signal so that the “forest” is constantly changing, sometimes shifting in a staccato rhythm, and sometimes in sinuous waves of color. Visitors can stroll throughout this environment, which Rist describes as “a digital image that has exploded in space.” She explains further: “I want to make it clear that everything we look at is also always just organized light, which helps as I dissolve architecture and forms. I am interested in the combination of nature and technology; these are not two different things.”

Worry Will Vanish (2014), a two-channel video that runs in ten-minute cycles, will be projected onto the south and west walls of Cullinan Hall, taking viewers into a fantastic dreamscape where the body and nature become one. Rist’s filmed and manipulated footage is immediately enchanting, as glistening, dew-laced leaves give way to images of the body and its interior, vast oceans, and a starry sky. The
accompanying soundtrack, created in collaboration with ID TK Anders Guggisberg, offers a lyrical and resonantly textured soundscape, heightening the video’s aura of wonderstruck celebration. Visitors are invited to recline on pillows and lose themselves in Rist’s cosmos.

About the Artist

Pipilotti Rist was born in the Rhine Valley, Switzerland, in 1962, and currently lives and works in Zürich. She attended both the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (1982–86), studying graphic design, illustration, and photography, and the Basel School of Design (1986–88), studying audiovisual communications and video. In addition to her studio art practice, she was a member of the band Les Reines Prochaines (Queens of the Knives) from 1988 to 1994, and the spirit of collaboration remains central to her work. Rist first came to
international acclaim through her single-channel videos, including I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much (1986), and her two-channel projections, including Ever is Over All (1997).

With Zimmer (1994/2000), Rist began to construct installations in tandem with her videos, and her more recent work increasingly blurs the lines between object, environment, image, and light. Rist has been featured in exhibitions at museums and festivals across Europe, Japan, and the Americas, including biennials in São Paulo, Venice, Istanbul, and the Caribbean.


Photos courtesy of MFAH