Carmen Perrin

1953 | La Paz, Bolivia
Carmen Perrin — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Courtesy Carmen Perrin

— Carmen Perrin

Swiss visual artist.

Daughter of Swiss-born filmmaker and farmer, Alberto Perrin, Carmen Perrin immigrated to Switzerland at the age of 6, fleeing the Bolivian dictatorship. A graduate of the École supérieure des beaux-arts de Genève in 1980, where she later taught, she began her career creating sculptures based on the experimentation of interactions between the physical possibilities of materials – mainly industrial elements (iron wire, rubber, innertubes, bricks) – and the potentialities of the artist’s body (Untitled, 1986). The formulation of raw material based on basic gestures creates a “spatial writing”, made of solids and voids, which, through dialogue, reveals the architecture and history of the site in which it is presented. From the 1990s onwards, Perrin intervened on a greater scale, often in situ; but whether it be temporary constructions in exhibition spaces or perennial interventions in public space, we can identify the constitutive elements of her artistic language: the almost experimental use of industrial materials confronted to the measure of her own body, the desire to examine and assess a place, or her interest in “marking out” a territory (Contextes, 2004).

Her interventions are often created in collaboration with architects: Daniele Marquès for the maternity clinic of Luzern in 1996-1997; Georges Descombes in Grenay, Pas-de-Calais (Bleu Grenay, 2009), where the esplanade is covered with a blue stone layer whose appearance changes according to the climate and the sun. She later continued her experimentation on her own body in the space around it, by integrating drawing: the Tracés tournés, a series begun in 2008, consist of large drawings in graphite, in which the circles are drawn based on the yardstick of the size of her body. Perrin herself calls it a sculptural work: “As I worked, I really felt as though I was ‘mounting’ a drawing, as potters do when they form a clay pot with their hands.”

Claire Bernardi

Translated from French by Anna Knight.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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