Barbara Weiss is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Mai-Thu Perret. Apocalypse Ballet is Mai-Thu Perret’s first exhibition in Germany.
Since 1999, Mai-Thu Perret has been writing “The Crystal Frontier”, a fictional account of a group of women dissatisfied with city life who go off into the desert and found an autonomous commune. Parallel to the written text, artworks are created and exhibited as the women’s hypothetical production. The fiction functions simultaneously as a generative mechanism for the artworks and as a filter coloring their reception and interpretation. Aiming to reform every aspect of social organization and production in their quest for the better life, the works of the Crystal Frontier have included experiments in rabbit breeding and housing, ceramic vessels for a psychedelic tea service, a pottery workshop in self-expression, an unfinished rock musical with stage set and props, a handless pictorial clock, constructivist influenced clothing, abstract paintings and murals, functional and functionless things, as well as a group of monuments to revolutionary womanhood.
Central to Apocalypse Ballet is an ensemble of four standing paper mâché mannequins. Motion is suspended and the figures are frozen mid-gesture in what appears to be dance or exercise movements. Three of the mannequins are holding neon circles, while on the last one, the rings have shifted from performance props and become a dress, encircling the figure with light. With Apocalypse Ballet the artist continues her exploitation of favorites themes and histories, borrowing from the apparently disparate spaces of avant-garde stage design (Oskar Schlemmer at the Bauhaus in Germany and constructivists such as Rodchenko, Stepanova and Exeter in Russia) and the golden age of Hollywood musicals (neon rings appear as props in Busby Berkeley’s musical The Gang’s All Here), to create an esoteric and abstract tableau. All the clothes included in the exhibition were designed by Ligia Dias, a Paris based fashion designer, in collaboration with the artist.