Prune Nourry is a multi-disciplinary artist, she draws her inspiration from the issues of human definition and human selection. With a degree in wood sculpture from Ecole Boulle in Paris, Nourry explores bioethics through sculpture as well as video, photography, and performance. Her work focuses on how artificial procreation leads us towards an artificial evolution of mankind and its consequences.
By Dimitris Lempesis
Photo: Galerie Daniel Templon Archive
Prune Nourry makes in-depth research and is largely influenced by anthropology, she has created a triptych focusing on gender preference. This trilogy started in India with the projects “Holy Daughters” (2009) and “Holy River” (2011). The third part, “Terracotta Daughters” (2013), a life-size army Prune made in Xi’an, China, travelled the world in 2014 before to be buried as a “Contemporary archeological site”. For her first solo exhibition in Belgium, Prune Nourry transforms the space of Galerie Daniel Templon in Brussels to recreate the experience of a contemporary archaeological site, relating directly to her long-term project “Terracotta Daughters”. The space has been transformed using earth, bronze and terracotta sculptures and photographs as well as the stages in Nourry’s creative process in the form of film and an installation evoking the processes that go on behind the scenes at her studio. In “Terracotta Daughters”, Prune Nourry focuses on the issue of gender imbalance in China. The gender discrimination has resulted in a large gap between the male and female population in the country. Nourry decided to document and analyse this situation by representing the millions of girls that were never born, or as she calls them “China’s missing daughters”. Inspired by China’s ancient Terracotta Warriors, an army of 8,000 men, horses, chariots, and weaponry buried in soil of Xi’an, are considered the eighth wonder of the world, and one of the country’s national treasures, Prune Nourry sculpted them with the same Chinese clay and with the same techniques used to create the original statues of the warriors over 2,000 years ago. Emulating the style and ancient techniques used to conceive the Terracotta Warriors, Prune collaborated with local Xi’an artisans specialized in the copies of the Terracotta Soldiers to create the “Terracotta Daughters” project. Prune sculpted 8 life-size Terracotta Daughters modeled after 8 Chinese orphan girls. The clay used in the process is the same as the one dug up over 2,000 years ago for the original warriors. Once the 8 original sculptures completed, the craftsmen used the molds interchangeably to create an army of 108 life-size Terracotta Daughters. The faces are then individually personalized and signed by the craftsmen, as was done with the ancient soldiers, to make each Terracotta Daughter unique. Throughout 2014 and 2015, these statues traveled the world, spreading their message of respect towards women along the way. Since then, they’ve returned to Xi’an for the penultimate stage of the project: their burial. For the next 15 years, “Terracotta Daughters” will rest in a burial chamber. The location of what they’re calling a “Contemporary Archeological Site” will remain a secret until they’re exhumed in the year 2030
Info: Galerie Daniel Templon, 13 A rue Veydt, Brussels, Duration: 12/1-4/3/17, Days & Hours: Tue-Sat 11:00-18:00, http://danieltemplon.com