Is the new Beyoncé video a tribute to Pipilotti Rist?

The singer's brilliant new video for Hold Up bears some striking similarities to Rist's equally great 1997 work
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A still from Pipilotti Rist's Ever Is Over All (1997) and Beyoncé's Hold Up (2016) videos
A still from Pipilotti Rist's Ever Is Over All (1997) and Beyoncé's Hold Up (2016) videos

Beyoncé’s new studio album draws from a wide range of influences. Listen closely and you can hear snatches of Led Zeppelin, Outkast, Animal Collective and Burt Bacharach.

However, there appears to be one fine-art reference in there that may have passed a few people by as they watch the accompanying hour-long video on HBO. In the footage to the song Hold Up, Beyoncé smashes the windows of a series of parked cars in the most graceful manner possible.

Look familiar? There are some the similarities between this sequence and an earlier video by the Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist. Here’s how the feminist scholar Peggy Phelan describes the work, Ever Is Over All, which Rist created for the 47th Venice Biennale, in our monograph.

 

 

“On one screen a woman walks down a street carrying what appears to be a long stemmed flower, an appearance that is encouraged by the accompanying projection of a field of fecund blooms. The woman is wearing red shoes, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. The music meanders beneath a soft, lilting  ‘la, la, la’ as the slow-moving woman skips closer to an empty parked car and thrusts the flower across the passenger-side window. The glass shatters as one realizes that the flower is metal.”

Beyoncé swaps Rist’s flower for a more traditional baseball bat, yet the dress, shoes and general demeanour appear appear to reference this 1997 video, as also noticed by commentators such as New York magazine's Jerry Saltz earlier today.

Nevertheless, it's nice to see Rist alongside the likes of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in Beyoncé’s stellar melange of creative talent. Find out more about Lemonade here, and for more on Rist’s delightfully unsettling work, take a look at our monograph, here.


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