Céline, Mouchette and Martine

Who is that girl on Mouchette’s homepage?

Her name is Céline. Last week in London we saw each other again for the first time after 30 years!

same-girl
I have been using a photo of a little girl I knew in my youth.  I had totally lost track of that sweet little girl and here she is now!

celine

Last year, Céline found her photo on mouchette’s website while going on a web search, not for ‘Martine Neddam’, but for the pseudonym I had at that time. (Yes, 30 years ago in Lyon, I was already a character/artist going under the name of “Veuve Angine”… but that’s another story.)
One search leading to another, she finally found me and sent me an email last year. Wow, what a surprise!
But suddenly I was so embarrassed, I felt guilty. I had used the photo of that little girl without her permission for a website that dealt with subjects such as suicide and sexual violence (among other things). For a whole week-end I prayed she wouldn’t blame me.
But no, she didn’t mind. There was still with us a strong memory of that friendship we had when she was a little girl and I was a young woman, a true, honest friendship based on equality. And that accounted for trust and affection, still lasting up to this day.

 

celine-et-moi

Here we are, Céline and me, having a selfie after our visit to the Whitechapel Gallery exhibition.
Céline has left her native Normandy more than fifteen years ago and she now lives in London where she is a Montessori teacher.
So when I went to London for the Whitechapel Gallery exhibition, I had to meet her and and see her face for the first time after 30 years. Mouchette’s website certainly owes something to that unusual friendship between a grown-up and a little girl. Céline had kept me company all through the years I was creating the website, and her sweet personality still graces my work of art.

show-whitechapel

Here is a view of the website in the show of the Whitechapel Gallery, on the first floor, in the net.art section where we saw each other for the first time after 30 years.

show-whitechap

facebook

The story got its little round on FB and that’s it.
But for me, it lives on, this encounter is sealed in my heart. The mystery of presence in memory and photo is something that a cute story didn’t elucidate…

 



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