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Correspondances - Nunnery Gallery

Sister Germaine self portrait 2013

Exhibition preview

FROM July 17 to September 27, 2015, Nunnery Gallery is presenting Correspondances, an exhibition of work by east London based French artist Pierrick Mouton that draws from his relationship with French-Cameroonian Protestant nun, Sister Germaine.

Curated by Edward Ball, Correspondances is an exhibition of emails, letters, photographs, video diaries and films, between the artist and Sister Germaine that spans over five years.

What began as a project to document the daily life in a convent in Versailles, soon changed as Pierrick’s Mouton’s relationship with Sister Germaine developed and he became interested in documenting and understanding more of Germaine’s life. In turn Germaine’s intrigue with the project and the camera grew as she became fascinated with how to record her own daily life.

Mouton enters into a dialogue with a nun who has had little experience with cameras or technology and sets about giving her the skills and tools to make video diaries and record her own life in the convent. Included in the exhibition is a touching film made by Sister Germaine showing the lives of the nuns and a collection of her photographs.

Underpinning the whole project is the intimacy of dialogue and correspondence: between two humans getting to know one another, and between two different film aesthetics and two different perspectives. The main exchange between Mouton and Germaine is the camera, which shows their shifting relationships between artist and muse, filmmaker and filmed subject.

Correspondances forms part of Bow Arts’ 20th anniversary programme In Dialogue: a series of exhibitions concerned with the complex relationships between artist and the muse.

In celebration of Bow Arts’ role at the heart of the bustling Bow Road community, Mouton was commissioned in 2014 to carry out a year-long documentary residency in the community leading up to the exhibition, which will be viewed at a special screening in September 2015.

During his residency working with religious leaders in Bow, Pierrick Mouton has made three gentle portraits of the spiritual lives of a Sikh, Church of England and Methodist minister, thereby gaining deeper understanding of the common threads of spiritual life, irrespective of faith group.

Mouton has exhibited in France and Macedonia and screened his films at Saison Video and Soirée Flare at the Languedoc-Roussillon Cinéma. He works in a variety of media: video installations, photographs, sculpture, and found objects, the latter resonating with documentary. His work is about making explicit the roles of the subject and the author in documentary.

Speaking about Germaine and the exhibition, Mouton said:

“Germaine seems to use the camera in a very playful way. She has developed her very own instinctive and uninhibited way of taking photographs and image making. A few years ago, I gathered together our five years’ worth of exchanges in a book, titled Correspondance. The book documents the evolution of our relationship over time. It’s so interesting to see how it changed from a formal relationship – signed off ‘Kindest respects, Sister Germaine’ – to a friendship. She now signs off her letters to me with ‘Mama Germaine’.” For this exhibition, I have been thinking about how to present these documents and how to translate them from the publication to the gallery space.”

Admission: Free.

Times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm.

Nunnery Gallery, Bow Arts, 181 Bow Road, London, E3 2SJ

Tel: +44 (0) 20 8980 7774