Bénédicte Vanderreydt: MATER SEMPER (CERTA) EST

Bénédicte Vanderreydt: MATER SEMPER (CERTA) EST

Bénédicte Vanderreydt: Supernumerary embryos


Photographic Centre Nykyaika
Kauppakatu 14, Tampere
Mon–Fri 12–18, Sat–Sun 12–16
Free entry


Mater Semper (Certa) Est is a mixed media exploration through photographs and film installation. This project echoes Bénédicte Vanderreydt’s last two series: I Never Told Anyone and Les Ulysses. She explores the different levels of construction of the female identity from adolescence to adulthood and she envisions the successive roles that women are able to embody: child, wife, mistress, mother….

Mater Semper (Certa) Est is an irrefutable principle of Roman law: The identity of the mother is always certain, unlike the father. Since 1978, when the first child was conceived by the technique of in vitro fertilization, the principle of Mater semper certa is no longer applied. For the past 50 years, science has progressively colonized the realm of procreation. Yet, nature has never been so sacralized, mainly by morality and by law. The number of children conceived through MAP (Medically Assisted Procreation) is 5.4 million worldwide.

Vanderreydt is interested in how science becomes myth through this heavy treatment and how science yearning towards omnipotence had an impact on women’s body and mind. In this child conquest, she is wondering about the glorification of the will at the expense of the body and its life experience. What about the moon? Our cycles? Our feminine unconscious? Her work’s intention is not to oppose two myths: the scientific territory and the feminine territory, but to raise ethical issues, human responsibility or how the scientist protocol acts and governs procreation and moreover the uterus. She is trying to study their construction, their language and show how women lose all sense of nature. Through her film, Bénédicte also wonders about what the female body contains, how this body uses chance, the psychic and the magic.