"Pope Joan is the mythical female pope who may or may not have reigned in the middle ages.
It's difficult to prove that she existed and yet her story has persisted despite allegations that the Catholic Church and its historians demolished artefacts attributed to her, they argue that the whole tale is a fantasy, cooked up by scheming Protestants.
But proponents of the story point out that papal records are almost non-existent in the 10th and 11th centuries and that even male popes are barely documented.
The Catholic Church has historically been a huge patron of the lace industry which provided it with a steady stream of ornate clothes and adornments.
I drew this trompe l’oeil of a lace collar for a future female pope, if indeed there ever is one. The collar compares historical and highly contrasting images of Pope Joan, one of which is a self portrait as the female pope.
In taking the time to draw this meticulous lace design for a collar I have been thinking about the forgotten work of Joan, presumably a learned individual who would have gone to the immense effort of concealing themselves in order to attain the position of pope." Mirren Kessling.
Art and Design Foundation Oxford Brookes 2012 - 2013 /Distinction
BFA Fine Art - The Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford 2013-2016
Presenting a selection of photographs and videos that are traces of a performative exploration into identity. Each work is captured on a digital camera, but left unedited to emphasis that humble objects used alongside the body, such as dust sheets, clay, fabric and paper bags can be transformed by being fixed in time by the camera or gesture of the body.
* Referring to image The Body Can Be Remade one senses a connection between The Baptism of Christ, detail showing the two angels by Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci. Uffiizi, Florence.
Working across a range of media such as photography, film, performance, print and one off events, all brought together through her interest in exploring the body and objects around it as performative tools for exploring identity.
Mirren Kessling has exhibited at the Modern Artists Gallery Oxon, Museum for the History of Science, The Ashmolean Museum, Cube Gallery, Modern Artists Gallery, Jelly Gallery and the Ruskin Shorts Performance Event at Modern Art Oxford.