Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 27.5 cm.
Attracted by the history of the military hospital site Marie Zolamian found three nuns, who worked there between 1946 and 1993 as nurses. The work Before after consists of a sound installation which lets us hear the voices of the sisters, whereas their portraits, painted in acrylic on loose canvas, are exposed in a display case. They tell each other their memories and how things changed. What hits us are the vague reconstructions, the importance that they attach to insignificances, the misunderstandings, the repetitions, and the lack of geographical precisions. The three sisters chime each other and outbid. One has worked 38 years on the site, the other 48 years. Nuns have the same feelings as other human beings and nevertheless we associate them with peace, kindness and patience.
All the floor of the tower is plunged into a serene atmosphere, the past is behind the door. The paintings in the display cases represent women of whom it is impossible to say if their sleep is true, or eternal. Their bodies emit a solemn appeasement. The paintings show passive women, often between two worlds: baptism, marriage, religious ceremony, meditation, expectation, reflection. Almost all wear a white dress. The peace and the abandon that emanate from the works contrast with the whispers of the three nuns that we hear behind the half closed door. The border between the vocation and the submission is tiny, the ideal world and the real world rarely meet.
The work of Zolamian often approaches the theme of the collective memory. She tries to make visible moments or places lost or forgotten.