In her latest project, The Malady of Suzanne, Spanish artist Nieves Mingueza goes off in search of a woman named Suzanne, who lived in her building long before she did, in the 1970s. The result is a unique story with mystery novel undertones that falls somewhere between photographic investigation and journey of self-discovery.
The story begins in London, when Nieves Mingueza, who's lived in England for several years, decided to move into a new apartment and soon learned that her building was once a mental hospital. "One night, I was relaxing, reading in my living room. There was a sepulchral silence, and suddenly I heard a noise coming from the ceiling," the artist recalls. With the help of a neighbor, she managed to gain access to a small loft, where she found "a suitcase that contained photos, letters and documents that had belonged to a woman named Suzanne."
By combining the archival material she found in that suitcase with her own photographs, Nieves Minguesa tries to retrace Suzanne's life story: "Reading her letters, I learned that she was a Vietnamese woman who had been a teacher in her home country. There, she fell in love with an Englishman, and finally they decided to move to London together." Nieves Mingueza also found out that upon arriving in London, the woman had decided to change her name because her own name was too hard for English people to pronounce. "She called herself Suzanne in honor of Leonard Cohen's song."
Vietnam, immigration, England, the name… Nieves Mingueza gradually managed to bring the pieces of the puzzle together, then discovered that Suzanne had developed the symptoms of a mental illness that would doom her to silence and lead her to this psychiatric hospital. Intersecting destinies whose stories echo each other like a noise coming from the ceiling.
By Coline Olsina
This portfolio has been selected by the editors of Blind from among submitted proposals.