Museums are currently closed in Paris because of the pandemic but, since a few years, certain department stores have exhibited artists.
Le Bon Marché – one of the more elegant ones – situated in the centre of Paris, has exhibited world-famous artists, such as Ai Weiwei and Joana Vasconcelos, among others.
This year, the French sculptor, Prune Nourry, has made a gigantic installation that is best viewed from one of Andrée Putman’s elegant escalators. This nomadic artist, since 2011 based mostly in the USA, has come back to her home country to create this sculpture, specifically for the Bon Marché.
The artist was inspired by the mythological figures of the warrior amazones who supposedly cut off one of their breasts in order to be able to better use the archer. Nourry plays with the symbols of the archer and composes an installation with a target, in the form of a breast; an arc and arrows.
However the symbols are double as they also represent breast (the target) cancer and the struggles (arrows) women are undergoing to fight it. In 2016, Prune was diagnosed with breast cancer that she’d bravely overcame. This exhibition is an homage to all women and all benefits will go to cancer research. Her many engaged works, especially to forward women causes, has had her concentrating on female bodies.
Next to the store’s exit doors, a documentary film about her work can be viewed as well. In it, we see how Prune Nourry collaborates with artisans and constantly tries out different materials to explore new techniques. She uses science to transform it into art. The notion of equilibrium is at the centre of her preoccupation, whether biological, ethical, ecological or the body, in correlation with the disease. It’s an introspective reflection.
A gigantic arc in wood has been placed at the centre of the store next to another scene with 888 arrows pointed towards what looks like an enormous breast. From death to life, as the arrows can also be understood as a battalion of spermatozoids on their way to an ovule and the creation of life. That reminded me of one of Woody Allens hilarious movies when he played a spermatozoid.
So there are many ways to view this fabulous work of art. The arrows and a book ”Aux Amazones” are for sale in favor of helping women with breast cancer. If anyone is interested you can find out more about it here: www.prunenourry.com
I do think that many of us have come to realize the importance not only of science and research but also of art, during this on-going pandemic. Engaged artists can do so much to raise peoples consciousnesses. Let ut hope that this difficult experience we’re all having will eventually lead to a more empathetic and united world.
Anne Edelstam, Paris
Bon Marché, 24 rue de Sèvres, Paris 7ème.