My Mum (V2-Sensitive)

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video & sound
duration: 6 min

My Mum (V2-Sensitive), Beaconsfield, London, 2011
Jury Selection, 13 Video Art Festival, Stockholm, 2013
Stations of the Cross, St Stephen Walbrook, London, 2017

Laura Moffatt, ‘Stations of the Cross and Resurrection’, Art & Christianity, No 90, Summer 2017
Muriel Zagha, ‘From Psycho to Transcendence’, Elephant, 2017
Stations of the Cross | Stations of the Resurrection, Stations 2017, catalogue, ISBN 978-1-5272-0874-2s 

included in the series Stations of the Cross

© acknowledgements:
The Birds (1963) 
Berlin (Lou Reed) 
Memory Of A Free Festival (David Bowie) 
Sensitive (The Field Mice) 


The Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother

A reading from an interview with Jean-Louis Raymond:

I want to say straight away how pleased I am to have the opportunity to discuss Gina Pane’s lesser known side, that of teacher. When I myself started teaching as a young man, in 1979, and discovered there was a famous artist among my colleagues, I knew that working with her would be of immense significance to me. She taught the painting class. She placed the concept of painting at the centre of reflection and theory building. She encouraged most of the students to paint. This is not the case today.

She was seen as an artist very much in the classical tradition of painting. In her classes she asserted the mystery of what has been thought in order to restore a depth of view worthy of human dignity. At the same time she wanted her students to learn a symbolic order articulating formal intentions with emotional content. She went far beyond strictly educational assignments in an attempt to express the necessity of creativity. I would say that with her it was a question of inspiration.

I am using this term as a contrast to the present situation among first year students. Mystery is a word they do not know. In their minds, events and facts are governed by principles of reality, which makes them simple.

She was exceptionally good at listening to people. Most students in Le Mans come from a rural or working-class background. Gina Pane was genuinely attentive to her students’ words or allusions that, in her view, revealed desires taking shape. She thought that their imaginative power stemmed from their social environment. Strangely enough, the distance she kept between herself and other people was in inverse proportion to her ability to focus on a developing mind unfamiliar with the dialectic of art. She succeeded in finding a common language even with those who were most incapable of verbal formulation. This is a clear indication of the trust she placed in others, of her expectations. She hoped the school would offer some of them the possibility of being reborn, whatever their background, whatever their intellectual capacities. Actually, she established an insurmountable distance in her relationships with people but she provoked in order to stimulate. She was provocative. Students who had been put to the test either passed or failed definitively. The weakest, the least motivated could choose to quit. Yet these confrontations were extenuated by other teachers who might decide to stand up for these students or to protect them. She used to interact with students in a very personal way. She used to make appointments to meet them on a one-to-one basis but very formally. And she always addressed them in a formal way. From an ethical point of view her attitude set an example. Everybody knew everybody’s role. This mutual relationship rooted in a set of codes and rules created a ‘place for possibility’. I am certain she was highly emotional, that was the reason why she did not want things to be uncontrolled. Very soon I came to appreciate this attitude. To me it seemed to be protecting something in her innermost being that should not be reached too easily.

The idea that drove her on was that you also teach what you don’t know. It seems paradoxical at first, yet it encompasses doubt and curiosity regarding change. It gave her teaching an essential depth, but it also introduced into her work energies that could not be satisfied with the results. The way she opposed conventional ideas and deeply anchored habits in the end brought about a real dynamism. Her often-demonstrated capacity to resist became legendary. One day Alexandre Bonnier, Art Education Inspector, asked us ‘Have you ever heard Gina Pane say “yes”?’ What teaching represented in her deepest being, I couldn’t say, I was never close enough to her to exchange ideas on this point. We held each other in high esteem and the most remarkable discussions we had focused on the sacred.