Disrupted Icons (The Maternal Gaze) is the result of a 6 month collaboration between visual artist Lucy Cade and sound artist Eleanor Turner. Their work questions and celebrates modern motherhood, stressing the necessity for reinvention alongside traditional or religious expectations of ‘Mother and Child’. The starting point for the project was the opening ‘Chapel scene’ of Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Nostalgia. The project deep-dives into religious iconography, combined with references to the artists’ lives: in particular, Cade’s work is filtered through the trauma of her own experience of postnatal psychosis. Turner’s soundscape samples birdsong (referencing the Tarkovsky scene and the associated symbology of birds) and her harp playing in a sonic exploration of what it means to be a mother today: heartrate monitors play alongside the creative sounds of Cade’s studio. A feast for the eyes and ears, the show will appeal to all ages and genders.

a show by Lucy Cade, curated by Josephine-May Bailey, with a musical soundscape by Eleanor Turner

The Crypt Gallery, St Pancras Church, 165 Euston Rd, London, London NW1 2BA United Kingdom

4th -6th Nov, 2022 Open 12-6pm

Private View + Drinks + Live Performance

Fri 4th Nov, 6-9pm

All welcome

More info about Eleanor Turner can be found here

Of her involvement in the project she says:

‘I am in the privileged position to be able to put some of my experiences into music and soundscape for this exhibition of artist Lucy Cade’s work.

Caring and motherhood roles have rippled through my whole adult life, as I got pregnant with my first child when I was young. Whilst overwhelmingly love-filled, there are other emotions that get tapped into with the art and music: distress, trauma, grieving, guilt, rejection, confusion, psychosis, rage, sadness and saturation of responsibility, all emotions which are also experienced by those who have not necessarily mothered their own children and across gender and sex binaries.

We hope to cast shadows of doubt and appreciation over the religious and social iconography, challenging perceptions and stimulating thoughts around the maternal gaze. We have called it Disrupted Icons’

Lucy says:

‘The Crypt is a fantastically moody space, which very much lends itself to our questioning, meandering look at the multifarious experiences of motherhood, some of which are often overlooked – these include rage and stress, as well as the calm, beatific emotions that we still tend to primarily associate with early motherhood due to its iconography in art.

The interactivity of the soundscape that Eleanor has been working on in parallel with my paintings gives the audience the license to disrupt their own sense of these iconographies across cultural boundaries and how they impinge on and impact their lives.

The seed for the project was the opening scene of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia in which a young urbane woman enters a rural chapel in Italy in which the local female community are honouring and praying to the Virgin Mary. She has a conversation with the male priest about the role of women. Her own faltering respect mixed with confusion, alongside the chanting and performativity of the presentation of a large effigy of Mary would go on to set off a chain of recurring images in my work. I suspected the scene would resonate with Eleanor due to her interest in birdsong and the collaborative process began by watching the scene together, taking photographic references, discussing the ideas it presented and how our responses might overlap and inform each other. My ideas were extended by my InFems Collective residency in Umbria where I researched representation of Mother and Child in Italian art from mediaeval to Renaissance, reflecting on how well this mapped with my own experiences of motherhood, especially seen through the lens of my postnatal psychosis.’

Eleanor and Ayorkor watching Nostalghia in Lucy’s studio


Abandoned Bomb Store, former RAF Wittering, Collyweston Great Wood, Northamptonshire UK

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