Carmen Perrin

1958 (La Paz/Bolivia), lives in Switzerland and France

Despite having spent the largest part of her childhood in Geneva, Carmen Perrin’s roots are in her home-country of Bolivia. In 1980 the artist graduated from École supérieur des Beaux-Arts in Geneva, where she also held a university chair from 1989-2004. In 1982 she exhibited at the Musée d`Art Moderne in Paris and two years later at Kunsthaus Grenoble. Her work, which shaped the evolution of sculpture in Switzerland significantly from the mid 1980s, is characterised by her trans-cultural background. It scrutinises Europe’s cultural conventions and is pervaded by subtle undertones that refer to her Latin-American origins. 

Perrin has a predilection for industrial material, electric wires, cables, building materials and ceramics and translates them into ambiguous visual imagery. Her works are about light and transparency, and she has begun experimenting with porcelain and glaze mixtures. Her sculptural creations activate their environment. In them she combines material and immaterial elements, creating an intense urgency reaching far beyond the limits of form. Through surface treatments, Perrin gives her works’ design an aesthetic statement of its own – this is exactly what makes her different from all those endeavours since Arte Povera, which worked with found materials, thereby documenting the connection to life. She treats surfaces in order to draw a line between life and its materials and her art production, and she has abandoned the classic ideal of a closed volume. Plastic and sheet steel are used by her in individual shapes, which she designs serially. Shapes of rows or grids are expanded, bent or put under stress by her, thus imbuing them with movement as a phenomenon.

In 1995 her works were exhibited at the Hong Kong Museum of Modern Art. In 1985 and 2009 she received prizes from the Irène-Reymond-Fondation, in 1988 she received the Manor art prize and, in 1989, she was honoured with the Trigon Prize ’89 in Graz. In 1992 she received the prize for sculptural art at the International Biennale, Cairo. The artist is internationally renowned, exhibiting in cities including Sao Paolo, Barcelona, Basel and Zurich.