Pronouns: she, her, hers
Mai-Thu Perret decided to pursue a career in art while studying literature at Cambridge University. To smooth the transition between her writing background and her newer interest in painting, she began composing a fictional narrative called The Crystal Frontier in 1999. This story follows a group of women who set out from their urban lives to start a female-only commune in the New Mexico desert. With this narrative as her conceptual framework, Perret began producing objects that the women who inhabited the territory would have used and made, such as their tools, clothes, and even art. Perret’s work has since diverged from exclusively referencing The Crystal Frontier but continues to draw on early feminist literature and science fiction as well as the modernist movements of Dada, Constructivism, and Bauhaus design. From these utopian and dystopian discourses, she builds discontinuous and expansive narratives that contextualize the objects she makes while evoking alternative, female-focused histories, and futures.
In 2019, she was the subject of a survey exhibition at MAMCO Geneva (Musée d’art moderne et contemporain). Other solo exhibitions include Istituto Svizzero, 2022; Le Portique – centre régional d’art contemporain du Havre, France (2020); Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany (2019); Spike Island, Bristol, England (2019); Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2016); Le Magasin, Grenoble, France (2012); Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2011); University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (2010); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2008); and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (2006). Recent group exhibitions include New Time: Art and Feminisms in the 21st Century, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, California (2021); Les Flammes, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2021); The Universe of Emma Kunz, A visionary in dialogue with contemporary art, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau (2021); Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300–Now); Met Breuer, New York (2018). She was a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program (2002-2003).