Qatar Museums to present first survey exhibit of artworks ‘Electric Idyll’

Doha, Qatar: Qatar Museums will open Electric Idyll – the first survey exhibition dedicated to renowned contemporary Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region — at the Fire Station: Artist in Residence in Doha on February 23.

Designed as a single, comprehensive installation spanning the more than 650-square-meter exhibition space of the Fire Station’s Garage Gallery, Electric Idyll presents a diverse collection of some of the artist’s most celebrated works combined with new participatory pieces created specifically for this exhibition.

Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, the exhibition opens as part of the special February gathering of Qatar Creates, the year-round national cultural movement that promotes and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in Qatar and connects residents and global audiences with Qatar’s creative industries.

The exhibition will remain on view through June 1.

Emerging in the 1990s as part of a generation of artists who explore the connections between technology, nature, and the spectacle of omni-pervasive images in contemporary societies, Rist has been internationally celebrated for her video installations, which combine immersive projections and communal experiences of dreamlike contemplation. For Electric Idyll, Rist develops the exhibition as a hypnotic diorama—an all-encompassing digital landscape comprising 14 works.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, said, “Pipilotti Rist’s work is a favorite among the many people who have enjoyed her lively and immersive installation at the National Museum of Qatar. We are proud and excited to deepen our ties with her by presenting this endlessly fascinating new interactive exhibition, the first of its kind in our region, which she has designed especially for our audiences. Technologically advanced in its methods but deeply human in spirit, it is sure to inspire wonder in children in this Year of the Family, while taking adult visitors on a journey to a space where we question how we view the world and each other.”

Surrounded by multicolored textile wall prints and curtains, the exhibition is connected by a series of “electric islands,” as the artist describes them: interactive displays where the combination of video projections, pieces of furniture, carpets, and domestic objects together create largely “still lives” that can be engaged by the audience. In these “living rooms”—spaces that are both alive and lived in—images are projected onto viewers, effectively turning them and every surface of the gallery into screens and carriers of images.

These and the other works on view in Electric Idyll continue Rist’s expansive research into the intersection of human senses and digital technologies, imagining a future in which the biological and the electronic meet in a new body electric.

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