Les Reines Prochaines

founded in 1987


The all-female band Les Reines Prochaines (»The Next Queens«) was founded in 1987 by Teresa Alonso, Regina Florida Schmid, and Muda Mathis. A year later Fränzi Madörin and Pipilotti Rist joined, eventually followed by Gabi Streiff, Sus Zwick, Sibylle Hauert, Michèle Fuchs, and Barbara Naegelin. The focus of the group was on music and performance. In a varying lineup and always in cooperation with others, the »Queens« performed within the context of art, music, or female themes.

The struggle for an autonomous cultural center for young people in Basel was behind the foundation of Les Reines Prochaines. Along with other artists, they wanted to occupy the rooms of the old city nursery with their own work. »To transcend ourselves and fight against our own inner weakness, but also, of course, friendship and cooperation, that was for us a calling. We didn’t do it for the money, but in order to get control of our work, a kind of research for creating new songs. In order to overcome difficulties, to not give up when there are misunderstandings. We felt that was our job.« (Pipilotti Rist) The women weren’t in search of a particular female aesthetic but rather wanted to discover what women could do when they cooperate, what artistic language they can develop. »And we knew—nobody will do that for us, we had to do it, that is our mission.« (Muda Mathis)

Muda Mathis
born 1959 in Zurich; lives in Basel

1986–1988: Degree in audiovisual communications (video art) from Schule für Gestaltung in Basel (Basel School of Design)

1988: Cofounder of studio and production collective VIA Basel

Since 1990: In production and life partnership with Sus Zwick

1996–2017: Teaching at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Basel (Academy of Art and Design Basel)

Internationally active with audiovisual production, installation, performances, and band gigs

Pipilotti Rist
born 1962 as Elisabeth Charlotte Rist in Grabs, Switzerland; lives in Zurich

1982–1986: Degree in applied photography and illustration at the University of Applied Arts Vienna

1986–1988: Degree in audiovisual communication (video art) at the Schule für Gestaltung in Basel (Basel School of Design)

1997: Appointment as artistic director of the Swiss national exhibition Expo.01, resignation after 14 months

2002: Teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles

2009: First film, Pepperminta

Visual Arts

Visual Arts

The best-known members of Les Reines Prochaines, Muda Mathis (member since 1987) and Pipilotti Rist (member from 1988 to 1994) work primarily in the field of video and performance. Their central themes are the human body (in particular the female body) and sexuality, as well as the difference between the sexes. Rist’s videos are characterized by accentuated sensuality and apparent naivety and are often combined with music. With Dada, Fluxus and punk as paragons, their intention is to upend the conventional perception of women and of art. The unfinished, the embarrassing, and the experimental are to be understood as artistic alternatives to »meaningless, highly polished art,« with dilettantism as strength, not incompetence.

»There is the naïve wish to make art not only for the insider, but rather for a broader public. There is this aspiration. And yet I see limits, also with Les Reines Prochaines there are limits, and they aren’t bad and also not amiss.« (Muda Mathis) Art is also a gamble, stresses Mathis, not as repetition of what already is but rather the invention of a world that one desires.


Author: Claudia Ehgartner



»One could always make music—against the visual arts there was always a certain arrogance, because it is a part of the establishment. Not music, it is neutral. Music is for everyone.« (Muda Mathis) In the multimedia performances, concert programs, recordings, and videotapes by Les Reines Prochaines, music is always the base around which everything rotates. The everyday, the mythological and the physical, pop culture, and one’s own childhood can all be sources of inspiration for a band. Les Reines Prochaines describe their compositions as »minimal, radically spare, and simply luxurious.« The lyrics are sung in various languages, written collectively, and are of great significance. In addition, synthesizer, sequencer, bass, drums, accordion, guitar, clarinet, trumpet, and flute all play their role, as well as toy instruments and everyday objects used as small percussive instruments. »None of the instruments are only played by one person, all of the queens play everything, but some of us don’t play certain instruments. Les Reines Prochaines come from the Western tradition of performance and pursue professional dilettantism as artistic concept.« (Band website)

In the Exhibition

In the Exhibition

Les Reines Prochaines

Das zornige Lamm / The Angry Lamb, concert on the occasion of the International Women’s Day demonstration, parking garage, Lucerne, March 8, 1989, with Teresa Alonso (voc., melodica, keyb., Fränzi Madörin (voc., bass guit., dr. ), Muda Mathis (voc., accordion, keyboard, bass guit.), Pipilotti Rist (voc., dr., bass guit.), Regina Florida Schmid (voc., dr., guit., bass guit., accordion), 7:17 min.

Courtesy: Muda Mathis + Sus Zwick


Claudia Ehgartner