Film clip © Pipilotti Rist/VG BILD-KUNST Bonn


Pipilotti Rist

  • Year 1992
  • Edition Edition 2/3
  • Material/Technique Single-channel video installation (color, sound)
  • Dimensions Variable
  • Length 13' 48'' loop
  • Category Media art

Despite the best efforts of the women’s movement in the 1970s to rid menstruation of its taboo status, this natural process is still characterized by shame. Few women publicly admit to menstruating, especially to men. This is because, in many cultures, menstrual blood is considered unclean and menstruating women are excluded from public life. Thus, Pipilotti Rist’s installation Blutraum must be regarded as a deliberate provocation. In a delightfully playful manner, the artist investigates the bodily fluid, which—in her video—appears to gush out of all orifices. Blood streams out of the artist’s mouth, runs down her breasts and thighs and collects as a bloodstain on a pair of pristine white panties.
“Blood that appears outside the body unnerves people,” Rist explained in an interview. “It is not right that this substance should leave the body [in this way], for it means that the human machine is not functioning, is not working as it should. In the case of menstruation, it’s no different.”
For the video of her installation Blutraum, Rist connected two image planes. Close-ups of body parts can be seen shifting, amoeba-like. This film sequence is embedded in a flow of microscopic images from inside the body. Combined with the steady bubbling and meditative sound, this creates the impression of an endoscopic journey through the veins.
Since its first installation in 1992, Rist has staged Blutraum in various ways. At the Sammlung Goetz, the film was shown in 2018 as part of the exhibition Generations. Female Artists in Dialogue. For this presentation, the film was projected onto the ceiling in a separate room, which was painted entirely red and covered with red carpeting. Organically shaped, upholstered couches invited visitors to relax and linger.

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