Mai-Thu Perret is known internationally for her ambitious multi-disciplinary practice encompassing sculpture, painting, video and installation. Perret has created a complex oeuvre which combines radical feminist politics with literary texts, homemade crafts and 20th century avant-garde aesthetics. Her ongoing project The Crystal Frontier, a fictional narrative chronicling the lives of a group of radically minded women who turn their backs on the city and move to New Mexico to establish a feminist commune, anchors much of the artist’s practice since 1999. Mirroring the idealism and reflecting upon the failures of the myriad Utopian communities that emerged throughout the last century, Perret’s community highlights the strained relationship between art and social revolution. The diverse artwork inspired by this narrative – from glazed ceramics to wallpaper – masquerades as the ‘hypothetical production’ of the community. This fictional productivity brings to the fore questions concerning the status of the art object – the difference between what it is and what one wants it to be. Perret’s hypothetical community of like-minded radicals provides a conceptual framework for the artist to interrogate the way that we consume art and literature, and a means of exploring the notion and achievability of utopia in the twenty-first century.
Mai-Thu Perret, born 1976, is a Swiss artist based in Geneva and a graduate of the Whitney Museum of American Art and Cambridge University (BA). Selected solo exhibitions include Slow Wave at Simon Lee in Hong Kong (2014), Astral Plane at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles (2014), The Prairie at Galerie Francesca Pia in Zurich (2013) and Beast of Burden at Galerie Barbara Weiss in Berlin (2012). Selected group shows include B/W at Timothy Taylor Gallery in London (2014), the Biennial of Moving Images at the Center d’Art Contemporain in Geneva (2014),*Decorum at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2014), Mingei: Are You Here? at Pace Gallery in New York (2014), At Work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Siegen (2013), La Demeure Joyeuse II at Galerie Francesca Pia in Zurich (2012) and The Old, the New, the Different at Kunsthalle Bern (2012). Perret has received several awards including the Zurich Art Prize (2011), Manor Cultural Prize (2011), Prize of the Swiss Foundation for Graphic Arts (2008), Kiefer-Hablitzel Prize (2006) and the Swiss Federal Prize for Fine Arts (2004, 2006).