THE REVERIES OF COMMONS
audio-visual installation / performance / drawings / objects (2018)
The Reveries of Commons
is an interdisciplinary project based on the research about Catholic sisterhoods that begins with the case study in Germany, during my residency within the Danube Art Lab Air program. In the research I focused on two female orders - the School Sisters of Notre Dame, founded by Mary Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger (1797–1879) and the Congregation of Jesus, founded by Mary Ward (1585–1645). Through the interviews with the sisters who are nowadays part of these communities, I’m trying to explore the differences between life mission of the religious sisters from the past and those who live in the contemporary world. The initial attempt was to uncover the possible reasons for the lack of new sisters – situation that has led to the closure of many convents across Europe. In fact, the convent of the Congregation of Jesus in Regensburg is now closed, and several elderly sisters who lived there are moving to other cities and convents where they can spend the rest of their lives.
The conversations held with different sisters, in the peaceful interiors of their convents, are pervaded by biographical details of Mary Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger and Mary Ward – remarkable women-founders, coming from different centuries and backgrounds, who faced hardship and painful struggle in order to fulfill their mission – the one dedicated to female education and empowerment. Inspired by the lives of the foundresses, sisters also share their particular experiences and personal stories that guided them to join their communities. Fascinated by the spirit of activism of these Catholic sisterhoods, I wonder how does this practice correspond to the history and principles of feminism.
The project is presented for the first time in the Städtische Galerie im Leeren Beutel (Regensburg, Germany), in the form of the wooden cell placed in the middle of the gallery. Namely, the inside walls of the cell are inscribed with interpretations of various life stories of the nuns, and followed by the audio recording – a hybrid recital consisting of the artists experiences, contemplations, presumptions, doubts in correspondence with the text written on the walls of the cell.
July - November 2018 / The Reveries of Commons, Städtische Galerie im Leeren Beutel, Regensburg, Germany