Istituto Svizzero presents a new semi-permanent work at the entrance of Villa Maraini. The work consists of a newly commissioned neon installation by Swiss artist Mai-Thu Perret (b. 1976, Geneva). The piece lights the building and is visible for passersby on Via Ludovisi.
Untitled (2021) consists of nine hands, made of yellow glowing neon tubes. It almost seems as if they want to climb the brick wall in the entrance area of Villa Maraini, or perhaps climb out. Franz Kafka’s aphorism “A cage went in search of a bird”, noted in 1917, is important for Mai-Thu Perret in the development of the neon work. Thus, the question of the balance between cage and bird, the contradiction between freedom and protective loss of freedom. Mai-Thu Perret’s artistic practice is based on profound research and draws on references from cultural history, literary texts, feminist narratives, avant-garde aesthetics, and craft traditions. The neon work Untitled follows on from research on the hand, on hands, which Mai-Thu Perret has been pursuing for some time now.