PHYLLIS ODESSEY

Swimming In A Sea Of Pink Tulips

I’ve been going to MOMA since I was in junior high school and I can’t remember any “show” that turned the museum into a playpen until Pipilotti Rist’s Pour Your Body Out. The Swiss video artist used 7354 cubic meters of space on three walls in the atrium of the museum to convey her non-narrative trip through a hyper version of the natural world.

Pipilotti also designed a donut shaped pink sofa for viewing the video. The womb-like interior space became the domain of kids and parents. The top of the sofa was taken over by those eager to take a nap. If you were unnerved by the chaos inside the donut, you remained outside, leaning against the sofa and watched the video from a “safe location”.

What does any of this have to do gardening or horticulture? Lots.

The video is a group of images linked together by saturated color – primarily pink. The camera is at eye level with the plants: you breaststroke your way through a field of 16-foot tulips. I felt the power, the color, the strength, the erectness, the smoothness, and the shininess of these tulips. This virtual garden heightened my senses and told me something about this species one could never experience in reality. I found myself wanting to go to MOMA just to experience this little bit of joy in an overwhelming depressing world.

Leaving the installation, I descended the stairs, went out the revolving door and hit the snow-clad streets of Manhattan. I felt warm. Pipilotti Rist had put her arms around me.

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