Spike Island

Exhibition: Mai-Thu PerretThe Blazing World


19 January to 24 March 2019


Free entry

Event type


Preview: Friday 18 January, 6–9pm

Mai-Thu Perret’s multidisciplinary practice intertwines seemingly diverse traditions such as Modernism, the Arts and Crafts movement, and Eastern spiritualities. In 1999 Perret created The Crystal Frontier, a fictional all-women commune located in the New Mexico desert. The story of this autonomous community provides the framework for Perret’s interest in radical feminist politics and the objects she presents often masquerade as the ‘hypothetical production’ of the women inside The Crystal Frontier.

The Blazing World, Perret’s first major solo exhibition in the UK, explores the subject of witchcraft and the relationship between women’s oppression and the emergence of capitalism. In her immersive installation at Spike Island, a theatrical stage recalls sacred forms of architecture and is punctuated with ritualistic sculptures, puppets and textiles.

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The Blazing World is supported by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation. Mai-Thu Perret’s performance on 20 March 2019 is supported by Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève).

Mai-Thu Perret

Mai-Thu Perret was born in 1976 in Geneva, where she lives and works. She is known for her multidisciplinary 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.

She studied English at Cambridge University and was a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program. In 2011 she won the prestigious Zurich Art Prize and the Prix Culturel Manor. She is the recipient of the 2018 Paul Boesch Award.

Her recent solo shows include the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2016); Le Magasin, Grenoble (2011); MAMCO, Geneva (2011); Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau (2011); Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art, New York (2011); University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (2010); The Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2009); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2008); The Kitchen, New York (2008); and The Renaissance Society, Chicago (2006). She has a major retrospective exhibition opening at MAMCO, Geneva in autumn 2018.  

Mai-Thu Perret’s work has featured in numerous group shows, including the Centre d’art contemporain, Geneva (2014) ; Swiss Institute, New York (2014); Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris (2013); Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (2013); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012), CCS Bard Hessel Museum, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (2012); Kunsthalle Bern, Bern (2012); ILLUMInations (curated by Bice Curiger), 54th Venice Biennale (2011); and Haus der Kunst, Munich (2010).

Supported by
  • HEAD Geneve
  • Pro Helvetia
  • Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation