Our Director of Arts & Events, Sophie, takes a look back at some of her favourite works from the Nunnery Gallery’s past exhibitions.
Lucía Montero (Spain / UK)
O sole mio 2017
Moving image, 3’13”
Our moving image biennial Visions in the Nunnery shows work from all over the world, carefully curated into three thematic programmes. Digital works made miles away from one another come together to create powerful collective messages. Their flashing images in visual conversation across the gallery is a very special sight to witness.
Lucía Montero’s O sole mio was part of the 2018 Melanie Manchot Programme 2, whose work Out of Bounds (C) introduced themes around our human impact on the environment, landscape and photographic-led methods of presentation. Montero’s work is often led by archive footage, drawing on the power and associations of fragments of the past. A softly surreal 35mm film shows a simple country house surrounded by picket fencing, whose idyllic image is quickly flooded by a river bursting its banks. As the torrents of water rage, the warbling words of O sole mio begin ironically “What a nice thing is a day of sunshine”, the familiar tune lulling dismay as the house quickly disappears under water. The nostalgia is palpable, emotional, as the chorus climaxes with the foamy envelopment of the landscape under water. As the second verse begins we are faced only with the eerily calm surface of the newly flowing river, debris floating slowly to emphatic words of love – translated for us by subtitles on screen. This dreamy sequence seems unreal, impossible, in the high definition, full colour world of screens in which we now live, yet the black and white stuttering image of rapid environmental destruction is all the more haunting for its archaic presentation. We have known what we do for many years, and continued to party on – “with this fresh breeze a party’s brewing” – regardless of our enduring impact. This work harnesses the moving, meaningful and cross-cultural power of moving image and sound; I can’t wait for Visions 2020.