Plasticités, the title of Geneva artist Carmen Perrin's latest exhibition, alludes to both biological and physical plasticity. The latter refers to the malleability of a substance, its ability to be shaped and formed without being destroyed. Biological plasticity, on the other hand, describes the ability of organisms to alter their appearance in response to changes in the environment. In either kind of transformation process, traces of the original materialness remain manifest. Transformations are essential in a body of work that has consistently focused on space, depth and light, and on the way in which they are related to one another. Characteristics of various materials have been another important element in Perrin's artistic praxis. She focuses on adding and subtracting, applying and removing, concealing and revealing, resorting to perforation as a key method in order to reveal the quality, properties and depth of her materials.
While in Berlin on a travelling scholarship in 2012, Perrin explored the city. She often aimlessly strolled about; occasionally she would use a map. Having previously applied a coat of dark paint to such a map, the artist proceeded to scratch off the paint in expansive gestures that paralleled her otherwise unrecorded wanderings. What emerged was the interior cartography of a new, imaginary web of roads superimposed on the original network of streets and alleys.
In Glisse, contourne et perce (Glides, contours and pierces), lines have been drawn in several colours as well as graphite grey. Before she began to draw, the artist placed the sheet of paper on a soft support. In the subsequent process and depending on the pressure applied, the lead or crayon scored or even pierced the paper in a delicate balancing act between accident and design.
In her series, Les Cahiers d’Alberto (Alberto's booklets), the artist made stacks of a great number of old cinema booklets that she inherited from her father before cutting cones into the many strata of paper, which reveal a great number of images of actions, gestures, faces and landscapes.
Accumulations, interrelationships and repeated work processes are Carmen Perrin's key approaches to creating a highly diverse oeuvre that always remains true to her central concern of providing a spatial experience.