Jolanda Jansen


Les Reines Prochaines

The group Les Reines Prochaines (Future Queens) comprises some of the most important contemporary Swiss artists. It was in 1988 that two artists of the Basel School of Art won first prize at the Feminale festival in Cologne and The International Film and Video Festival in Luzern with their videos Painting and The Female Speed Reducer is Whizzing. The two authoresses of the awarded videos were Muda Mathis and Pippilotti Rist. Thus began the success story of a loose women's group which combined the tradition of accidental performances with the artistic concept of professional dilletantism.
It is difficult to label Les Reines Prochaines. Their emergence was first marked by the album Potatas in 1988. From then on, music has remained the focal point of their art, around which performances, movement, installations, concerts and videos are centred. Up to their latest show entitled Here Comes the Mammoth, many female artists have already taken the position as 'future queens', including Pippilotti Rist, Regina Floria Schmid and Theresa Alonso. Les Reines Prochaines currently consists of original members Muda Mathis and Fränzi Madörin, and of Gaby Streiff, Sus Zwick and Sibylle Hauert, who joined the group later. Apart from participating in the group, each female artist has her own independent career.

The magnificent 'sovereigns' stemming from below the Alps claim that the music in Here Comes the Mammoth is "good and pleasing to the ear of an endurable audience." The lyrics sung in English, French, German or Spanish are a somewhat different matter. At first sight they might appear as if coming from a naive child, but only at first sight. "I had a dream I was King Kong/I was an ape and very strong/and in my hand I held a maid/ I looked down and I was afraid! The maid I held in my hand it was me too and I can't believe it believe it believe it believe it ... the maid I held in my fist it was me too and I kissed my own face my own face my own face ..." (Alberta 1999)
The music is the centre; and this centre determines all the other elements which follow the music. This principle applies to video too. Although it might seem that the camera should function as an extension of the artist's eye, Muda Mathis frequently ignores looking through the lens, and, instead, moves around, thus causing the camera to film the images produced by her movement. "I don't trust my watchful, selective eye; it sees things too academicaly. The point is to find new images."
The images found in the aesthetics of Les Reines Prochaines are everyday actualities, fantastic scenes, conversations, dancing; all of which is enriched with colourfulness and energy.
Here Comes the Mammoth is a "big, thick cake of bodypoems, scientific lectures, tricks, sounds, lightgames and songs. It's a performance about dangers, miracles and early history."

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