Catharsis was born in 2018 with The Amazon, a monumental four-meter concrete sculpture with glass eyes, inspired by an ancient marble statue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art representing an injured amazon. Prune Nourry created the sculpture as a cathartic act in her fight against cancer. Inspired by ex-voto traditions, particularly the Japanese mizuko kuyo, the piece is entirely covered in thousands of incense sticks. During a public performance in the heart of Manhattan, the incense went up in smoke to symbolize healing.The Amazon sculpture  appears in the last sequence of Prune’s feature documentary, Serendipity, as a highpoint of the film and symbol of renewed trust in life and sense of community and ritual. Eventually, The Amazon is bound to become a Votive piece for all Women Warriors who are embarked on the journey of illness.


Prune's exhibition Catharsis presented at Galerie Templon in Sept-Oct 2019 marks a turning point in Prune’s creative process. For over twelve years, she has been developing thoughtful, multidisciplinary work that explores the body by questioning gender and hybridization. She has tended to keep her subject at a distance, remaining as objective as a researcher or anthropologist.

Over the course of her breast cancer treatment, Prune felt she was becoming the subject of her own work, a sculpture in the hands of the doctors. With Catharsis, armed with her sculptor's tools, the artist reappropriates her body and her femininity, forging an intimate tie between her past explorations and her current life experience. The sculptures in the exhibition are all marked by their evocation of ex-votos, the popular offerings in the form of an object, limb or organ which represent the feelings of women and men confronted with fear, infertility and sickness; their gratitude for past cures and hopes for future cures. This concept of transferring an emotion to an object can be found in all ages and cultures. To create the pieces for Catharsis, Prune worked with archaeologists, sociologists and artisans, drawing inspiration from the different shapes and materials used to make these objects.

The In Vitro pieces, made from laboratory glass and dated 2010, illustrate the serendipity at play in Prune's work. These pieces and the intriguing River Woman, created for Glasstress 2019 as part of the Venice Biennale, are contemporary ex-votos where the desire for fertility takes the form of test tubes from medically assisted reproduction centres. The exhibition presents several clips from the film Serendipity, in which the artist explores the strange connection between her past work and her illness. The film bears witness to her journey, transforming her medical treatment into an epic artistic voyage.

Catharsis allows viewers to share in hope for the body's homeostasis and a balanced soul.



Prune Nourry's 'The Amazon' at The Standard, High Line