Lisa De Boeck was five years old when her mother, Marilène Coolens, began photographing her. On the table, on the bed or hiding between the curtains, her daughter became the sole actress of an improvised theatre. Disguised with make-up and wigs sometimes, she played scenes from television series, movies or fairy tales under Marilène’s watchful eye. This creative complicity titled The Umbilical Vein stretches from 1990 to 2003 and became their only analogue image archive.
What began as a spontaneous game that served as an intimate exhaust valve in the form of a family record, subsequently explores another dimension during the digital era. Memymom, contracted from “me and my mom” is an artistic concept born in 2004 between the two self-taught photographers both living and working in Brussels: a mother (Marilène Coolens, 1953) and her daughter (Lisa De Boeck, 1985). Under the moniker of memymom, both decide to be in front and behind the camera.
From 2010 to 2015, their second chapter The Digital Decade bears witness of the desire to create semi-staged dreamscapes with a more readily symbolic content. This in places that lend themselves to the most diverse scenography or in settings emotionally charged for the two protagonists, such as the family home. Where sensuality superseded innocence, the photographs now have a mirroring effect and deal with subjects such as memory, metamorphosis, personal identity and the bond between mother and daughter.
In full creation of their third chapter Somewhere Under The Rainbow 2016-ongoing, this formula is supplemented with current themes. By deepening the themes of their works in international settings (Brussels, California), a complex but engaging series of portraits was made. Like a movie that is condensed to a single frame but exudes the depth and meaning of a drawn-out story, transcending the relationship between these two women where family ties and creativity are fully intertwined.
memymom was invited by artistic director Gerhard Verfaillie to bring the entire exhibition at CCHA, the Cultural Centre of Hasselt in Belgium, where they decided to extend it with some extra images and a video interview ‘memymom on memymom’. They are also honoured to have Visual Artist Hans Op de Beeck join them during the opening for an introduction on their work.
The solo exhibition ‘memymom’ premiered at Le Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi in September 2018 till January 2019 and then travelled on to La Maison de la Photographie de Lille in France (March 2019) & Galerie Claude Samuel in Paris (May 2019). A smaller selection of the exhibition was also shown at Ragusa Foto Festival in Sicily, Italy (July – August 2019) and at The Visual Science of Art Conference 2019 in Leuven, Belgium (21-24 August).
Exhibition coproduced by Le Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi, Vlaams Cultuurhuis ‘de Brakke Grond’ & CCHA Cultuurcentrum Hasselt – with the support of Milo-Profi Fotolabo
Lisa De Boeck & Marilène Coolens – memymom
22 September – 24 November 2019
CCHA Cultuurcentrum Hasselt