PHYLLIS ODESSEY

“but art is like dreams…

Prune Nourry Terracotta Daughters copyright Peter Mauss

Prune Nourry
Terracotta Daughters
copyright Peter Mauss

essential to your mental health.” Prune Nourry.
Terracotta Daughters opened on September 10th by invitation only.  This did not stop the line from being a block long.  I waited 45 minutes to enter.  The space, “No Longer Empty” is an large, unoccupied,  ground floor on Washington Street, The temporary new tenet are 108 terracotta sculptures. This rough, unfinished expanse is perfectly suited to explore Prune Nourry’s Terracotta Daughters.

Like the crowd at any vernissage, hipster chic mixed with matron elegance

Prune Nourry Terracotta Daughters copyright Peter Mauss

Prune Nourry
Terracotta Daughters
copyright Peter Mauss

and undefined persons of interest, like myself.  The mandatory bar was off in a corner. With a crowd this big,  the champagne and wine did not last long. iPeople squeezed between the 108 life-size Terracotta Daughters trying not to bump into each other or the sculptures.

Inspired by the 8.000 terra-cotta warriors from 210 BC discovered in China in 1974, Nourry has been working on Terracotta Daughters for many years.

Prune Nourry  Terracotta Daughters copyright Peter Mauss

Prune Nourry
Terracotta Daughters
copyright Peter Mauss

Seeing the108 sculptures for the first time in a swarming, overpopulated room brought a new dimension to the work.  The sculptures became inanimate, sober objects in a throng of humanity. The contrast between the Mao uniforms on the girls and the crowd decked out in every imaginable outfit and hairdo brought an unexpected focus to the work.

Prune Nourry Terracotta Daughters copyright Peter Mauss

Prune Nourry
Terracotta Daughters
copyright Peter Mauss

The work has  political  and sociological implications, which everyone reading this piece can google.  Nourry spent a year and half going back to China to work on this project.  The sculptures are a collaboration between the Xi’an artisans,  Wen Xian Feng, the master craftsman and Nourry herself. In an interview with Gaelle Porte, Nourry talks about use of the Instagram as a tool in her process. “…Instagram is also a way to curate your own work as an artist.  You show what you have to say, there is sometimes even a kind of ‘miss en scene’ for it.  It’s a new storytelling’s tool for me.”

Prune Nourry Terracotta Daughters copyright Peter Mauss

Prune Nourry
Terracotta Daughters
copyright Peter Mauss

Prune Nourry Terracotta Daughters copyright Peter Mauss

Prune Nourry
Terracotta Daughters
copyright Peter Mauss

I intend to go back on a day when it’s less crowded.  The emotional content of the piece was lost among the frenetic crowd.  “An artist has to put himself in danger exploring new dimensions.” Prune Nourry.  I will be looking for those new dimensions next time around.

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French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) and China Institute present

Prune Nourry:
Terracotta Daughters
September 11 – October 4
12 pm – 6pm
China Institute
104 Washington Street

RELATED EVENT:

Interactive Installation:  Imbalance
September 13- October 4
10am – 9 pm
Rio Grande
179A Grand Street (between Mulberry and Baxter Street)

Nourry is creating a bridge between Terracotta Daughters and New York’s Chinatown.  The artist is collaborating with the Chinese foot massage parlor Rio Grande, where she will hide original artworks among the traditional reflexology posters and fish tanks.  The 200 visitors on Saturday, September 13 will receive a free massage.  The artist will be present.

 

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