Ever Is Over All

The energy of the artist is summed up in the work Ever Is Over All, 1997. Here, a smiling woman in a flowing dress walks jauntily down a street to a gentle soundtrack. Images of the exotic flower commonly known as Red Hot Poker, bleed into the image. The gaiety of the work is shattered for a few seconds as the swinging arm of the figure holding one of these flowers bends towards parked cars and uses it to smash the windows once there is a fractional pause. Then the music starts again and the walk continues.

This act of violence, witnessed by a friendly passing policewoman and a slightly bemused passerby, holds within it a set of contradictions: the tension between 'how' and 'what'. This, on the surface, unacceptable action should rupture the status quo within a given socio-political context. But the 'how' can outdo the 'what'.

Can violence enacted with a sweet smile be more easily forgiven? As feminist theorist and writer Peggy Phelan has pointed out, the woman inĀ Ever Is Over All, resembles Dorothy with her blue dress and those infamous ruby slippers on her journey to see the Wizard of Oz. Pipilotti Rist strays far enough from reality to explore the fantastical, yet her work remains only a click of the heels away from home.

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