Les guérillères XII, 2016

Basel 2016
Galerie Francesca Pia
Sculpture
steel, wire, papier-mâché, acrylic paint, gouche, synthetic hair, cotton, polyester fabric, bronze, resin, wood
135.0 x 63.0 x 80.0 (cm)
53.1 x 24.8 x 31.5 (inch)
Mai-Thu Perret / Les Guérillères XII For Art Basel 16, Mai-Thu Perret has created a new figurine for the Les Guérillèrres series, part of an ongoing exploration of a project she started some 16 years ago: The Crystal Frontier. Building on its seemingly anachronistic utopian trope – that of a self-asserting, autonomous feminist art commune in the New Mexican Desert – Perret has added a new twist to the so-far fictional dreamscape by explicitly referencing the very real struggle of the Y.P.J. – the notorious all-female Kurdish militant ‘Women’s Defense Unit’, hailing from Kobanê, the capital city of the predominantly Kurdish region of Rojava in northern Syria. The Y.P.J.’s bold mission is to defeat fascism and end patriarchy by constructing an alternative society based on equality and freedom. They are hence not only fighting ISIS, but, in doing so, also fighting the very structures within their own society. They sit or stand, self-conscious, fierce, at times weary, pensive, or not displaying any emotion at all; numb and inanimate. Les Guérillères XII is a life-size uniformed soldier-figurine, sitting on a chair and equipped with a weapon, on her head a wig. The unique mannequin-like figure is the embodiment of the multi-dimensional revolutionary fight by incorporating its contradictory dialectics: it’s there, where the artist’s refined choice of various materials – papier-mâché, ceramic and latex, creates a sense of these idealist women’s complexity and humanity that is constantly being threatened by the raw combats – or by the fetishizing, exoticising eye of the observer.