Discover the artistic journey of Sr Lise Mazo, a Daughter of Jesus in Rennes, France. A painter, sculptor, and former art college teacher, her many works form a priceless heritage. What can we do today to keep them intact and continue to show them to their best advantage?
A path toward the absolute
Sr Lisette Mazo, is a painter and sculptor. During the course of her long professional career, she has created many works: sketches and drawings, paintings in oil, pastel, and acrylic, collages, and sculptures. She has also created liturgical furnishing for different churches. The variety of her work is striking.
“My sculpture goes beyond the image”
During her studies at the “Beaux-arts” in Rennes, she turned her attention to sculpture. After graduating, she worked for 10 years as an assistant to the sculptor Francis Pellerin, and then as a teacher of sculpture for almost 20 years.
Lisette lives in community in Rennes, which has been a great opportunity for her. She was able to set up her studio in the basement of the provincial house at 17 Boulevard Magenta. Her body of work is colossal. As time passed, the studio contained a priceless heritage.
Stop this activity – what a shock!
Over 30 years, the many works piled up there. Lisette continued to paint, never imagining that one day she would have to give up this activity, as age advanced and fatigue gradually set in. One day, one of the Sisters in charge said to her, “You can go to Kermaria and take a well-deserved rest, but you’ll have to clear your studio before you leave”. Clear the workshop! What a shock!
If you put all Lisette’s works, one on top of the other!
Anxiety gripped her. Panicked, she thought of a solution. She spoke to a friend who, with a snap of her fingers, spoke to a colleague. At the same time, Lisette talked to other friends, and in the end, a committee was formed, the “Lise Mazo Steering Committee“.
We don’t sell off our heritage
The Provincial, Sr Anne Thirion, was informed. She reported the problem to the Provincial Council and the General Council of the Congregation. The question on the minds of those in charge was, “What should we do with this priceless heritage? We can’t sell it off!”.
Along with her colleague, a friend of Lisette’s took the matter in hand. First of all, he went to the studio, studied everything and took lots of photos. He then produced a superb presentation brochure with the title: “A path towards the absolute, Lise Mazo, painter and sculptor”. The booklet contains photos of the works he had arranged, and introductory texts written by Lisette.
But what is the solution for the future?
First and foremost, we needed to raise awareness of this immense body of work. But the question remained: what is the solution for the future? During several successive meetings between members of the committee, various solutions were considered, but all were impossible to implement. A disused church in Quimper would do the trick, but there was no heating. Stop there! A second proposal was no more realistic. What about Kermaria, the mother house? Impossible because it is currently being restructured.
Gradually, the committee expanded and became the “Association of the Friends of Lise Mazo“, with the aim of “managing, maintaining and promoting the artistic work of Lise Mazo“. Its members include competent, well-placed individuals. Little by little, ideas began to take shape, alongside difficulties and questions: “Who owns this heritage? If we create a museum, who will take responsibility for it? What funding will be needed to maintain it?” Step by step, however, the difficulties were ironed out and answers began to emerge.
30 years, we need to celebrate that!
During a meeting, a glimmer of light appeared: in 2023, the provincial house would be celebrating its 30th anniversary. The “House of Culture” in Rennes has recently awarded the house the label, “remarkable contemporary architecture of the 20th century“, (a label that recognizes buildings less than 100 years old that are of great architectural interest). Hervé Perrin, the architect of the house and a member of the association, told us of his intention to mark this anniversary. Why not take the opportunity to organize an exhibition of Lisette’s work? The decision was made: during the “Days of Matrimony and Patrimony”, on the 16th and 17th of September, an exhibition would be held at the Provincial House, 17 Boulevard Magenta in Rennes.
To work my friends! In just a few days, the workshop was put in order, and the works were sorted and classified by theme. The members of the association who were available, then got together to specify the various exhibition locations: the entrance to the house, the corridors, a space in the garage, and the studio. One morning, the team were already planning the exhibition. Each work found its place for a moment. Photos were taken to remind us of the planned placements. All that remained was to await the big day.
We invite as many as possible of you to come and visit this beautiful exhibition, which will take place at
- 17 bd Magenta, Rennes, on Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th of September
- from 9am to midday and from 2 pm to 6 pm.
In the hope that we will one day find a permanent home for it.
Sr Madeleine Menier dj,
in community with Lisette