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  • Writer's pictureVirginia Toupin

Discover: Prune Nourry

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

Watch out for this upcoming international contemporary artist

Prune Nourry's collection specially selected pieces to Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche for its latest carte blanche exhibition, "L’Amazone Erogène", starting on January 9th 2021.

Her work challenges concepts such as genetics, gender selection, the status of women and our relationship with the female body. Each piece emerges as an aspect of her thinking, which explores the areas of science and anthropology.

"Les Dîners Procréatifs", 2009; "Terracotta Daughters", 2013; "Catharsis", 2019; "Serendipity", 2019; in recent years, Prune Nourry has shown major works incorporating sculpture, performance and video. These works and the artist’s journey resonate through the monumental work "L’Amazone Erogène", designed for Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche.


"Les Dîners Procréatifs" or "The Procreative Dinners" were performances combining art, gastronomy and science. Prune Nourry teamed up with a celebrity chef and a distinguished scientist to design a meal that followed the various steps in medically-assisted procreation, turning in-vitro fertilisation into a cocktail and having the main course represent gender selection, thereby inviting attendees to reflect on the concept of an "à la carte child".

Les Dîners Procréatifs, Geneva, 2009, photo credit © Antoine Levi


In 2016, Prune Nourry was diagnosed with breast cancer and decided to make a documentary, transforming her medical treatment into an epic artistic story. In the film "Serendipity", released in France and America in 2019, the artist explores the strange connection between her past works and her own story. The last frame of the film shows "L’Amazone", an enormous sculpture over five metres high, made from concrete with glass eyes. This resolutely cathartic work takes its inspiration from a sculpture in the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) collection in New York, featuring a warrior woman whose raised arm reveals a wound under her right breast. Covered with red incense sticks, Prune Nourry’s monumental "L’Amazone” statue borrows from the Japanese ex-voto tradition "Mizuko kuyō". At a ceremony on the Hudson River in New York, the artist broke one of its breasts, while her close family and friends lit incense sticks to symbolise healing.

L’Amazone, covered with thousands of incense sticks burned to symbolise healing (2018), photo credit © Prune Nourry Studio


"Terracotta Daughters" evokes the major themes that inspire Prune Nourry’s work: the status of women, fertility, birth control and demography. Modelled on the famous Xi’an soldier figures, the artist created 8 hybrid sculptures combining the style of the "Terracotta Soldiers" with the image of 8 Chinese girls. She then collaborated with artisan-copyists from Xi’an to create an army of 108 unique combinations from the 8 original moulds.*

Following a world tour (Shanghai, Paris, Zurich, New York and Mexico), the "Terracotta Daughters" were buried in a secret location in China in October 2015, in a performance entitled "Earth Ceremony", where participants witnessed the founding of a "contemporary archaeological site".

The excavation of this "army" is due to take place in 2030, the date identified by Chinese demographers as the climax of the male/female imbalance in China.

Earth Ceremony performance (Night), archaeological site home to the Terracotta Daughters, mainland China, 2015, photo credit © Prune Nourry Studio


In 2019, Galerie Templon hosted Prune Nourry’s "Catharsis" exhibition, a series of sculptures that examine illness, the body and procreation. "La Femme Miracle", "L’Organe Miracle" or "The Miracle Organ" and "Les Prothèses de l’Ame" or "Prostheses of the Soul" were inspired by the ex-voto tradition, which involves offerings being made that embody patients’ hope for recovery. Traditionally presented as isolated limbs or organs, Prune Nourry brings them together in a fragmented body in the form of a sculpture.

La Femme Miracle, White Terracotta, 2019, Galerie Templon Paris, photo credit © Bertrand Huet Tutti

Guided tours of the exhibition available on February 14th and 24th. For children aged 6 to 10 years, tours followed by an art workshop will be held on February 6th.

This is a free exhibition. Le Bon Marché is located at 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris. It is one of the top department stores in Paris and features regular art exhibits.

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