Hildegard of Bingen | Mystic Body

by Roisin O'Sullivan in London, England, United Kingdom

Hildegard of Bingen | Mystic Body

Total raised £10

raised so far



An exhibition on the contemporary relevance of Hildegard of Bingen in relation to the intersection of spirituality, ecology and feminism.

by Roisin O'Sullivan in London, England, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 28th March 2020 we'd raised £10 with 1 supporters in 14 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Hildegard of Bingen | Mystic Body is an exhibition that marks the beginning of an ongoing collaborative interdisciplinary research project exploring the intersection of spirituality, ecology and feminism in contemporary culture. The exhibition and project emphasise the importance of unearthing forgotten cultural narratives in order to change how we think and act collectively today. 

The bulk of the funds raised will go to the artists' and contributors' fees for the exhibition, including the production of new work where applicable. The funds will also go to the installation and hosting of events and workshops as well as advertising, travel expenses and transportation fees. Funds will also go towards building a new website devoted to recording everything that takes place at the exhibition as well as continuing discussions of its themes after the event.

It is hoped that the exhibition project will still continue despite the coronavirus but if not, the exhibition will be postponed to a later date. The funds will still be used for the same purpose only at a later date this year as well as in an ongoing capacity as a continuing research project outside the exhibition. 

The exhibition will take place at the Nunnery Gallery, 2 April 2020 - 15 April 2020.


My name is Roisin and I have recently finished an MFA Contemporary Art Curating Degree at Goldsmiths. This project is inspired by the legacy of 12th century mystic Hildegard of Bingen whose holistic vision of life is necessary for us to reengage with today, at a time when we are so often disconnected from ourselves, others and the environment. A number of artists in the exhibition have been commissioned to create new work in response to Hildegard's two central ideas - 'Viriditas' (the greening of everything) and 'The Word Made Flesh' (embodied divinity). Other pre made artworks have also been included to expand the themes of the exhibition and Hildegard's practice. 

Hildegard was a polymath and spiritual leader, producing a great  number of manuscripts that described the 'visions' she had been receiving from 'the shade of the living light' since the age of two (but which she only had the confidence to admit at the age of 40). These visions described humanity, the environment, the cosmos and 'God' as deeply interconnected. Hildegard's vision is important as it presents a non-hierarchical perspective of the divine - one that is relational and deeply embedded in the material world. The term 'Viriditas' which loosely translated means 'greenness', but is also translated as 'fresh', 'verdant', evergreen', theologically and ecologically unites the planet. 

Hildegard's vision is important in bridging the gap between our contemporary desire to move away from an 'anthropocentric' view of the world and the legacy of spiritual tradition of the Church. Hildegard's work invites a rereading of our western spiritual legacy and what its significance might be to us today. Hildegard as an 'uneducated woman' also presents a vision that is divine-centred rather than human-centred. The exhibition would like to suggest that this radical viewpoint is fundamentally different from the patriarchal religion that has been handed down to us culturally.


The project intends to reflect the interdisciplinary practice of Hildegard: she wrote and produced illuminations for her manuscripts based on her visions, produced written work on the causes and cures of diseases, practiced as a 'healer' within local community, created the first ever morality play, and composed numerous hymns and chants for her sisters to sing. Hildegard wrote many letters and advised political and religious leaders - she had an authority that was unparalleled among women of her stature at this period. 

To reflect Hildegard's diversity, the artists in the exhibition are working in a variety of mediums including drawing, performance, installation, sound, video and sculpture. The work is united by an emphasis on language and its relationship to the body.

Throughout the exhibition there is an emphasis on the relationship between the interior and exterior of the body, not only in terms of personality and emotion but also health. This follows Hildegard’s perspective that the body could be physically healthy or ill  as well as spiritually healthy or ill. 

To show this dynamic, also included within the exhibition programme is the expertise of gut health specialist Dr Ese Stacey who will be giving workshops on gut health as well as giving a talk on her research on energy medicine. Ese's research adds a scientific dimension to the exhibition. Through her gut health talks and workshops, Dr Stacey will demonstrate the importance of eating well in order to prevent disease and long term illness (something particularly relevant now with the Coronavirus spreading throughout the world) as well as the importance of producing food in an environmentally sustainable  way. In addition to this her research on energy medicine will show how matter responds to the frequency of words. 

The exhibition will be both immersive and educational whilst promoting ecological and interfaith dialogue. Due to the flexibility of Hildegard's character and her holistic interdisciplinary approach, she offers something for everyone. Alongside the contemporary work, the illuminations and writings of Hildegard will also be on display.


The research behind the exhibition is indebted to the legacy of feminism - particularly that belonging to the Italian feminists of the 1960s who advocated developing a different form of language and being in the world. Whilst researching the Italian feminists I came across reference to Hildegard of Bingen and many other medieval female mystics. The legacy of the female mystics is that they are the first to describe the divine in a deeply embodied form, one that is beyond the confines of gender and the conventional narrative of religion.

As a way of respecting this background, only women artists are exhibiting for the project. 


The project will be taking place at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow Road. The gallery is built on some of the remains of a 20th century Dominican Convent. The Church next door is dedicated to another renowned female mystic, Catherine of Siena. The choice of space is evidently to recall the monastic environment in which Hildegard worked. The Nunnery Gallery is deeply embedded in its local community, reflecting  Hildegard's vision and way of life. The Nunnery Gallery is a transformed, traditionally religious, institutional space and the exhibition mirrors this conceptually by emphasising the importance of transforming/rewriting traditional religious narratives within the collective imagination. The dynamic created through the use of space is also powerful in accentuating the marginal and transformative voice of Hildegard.  


Judith Deschamps - https://judithdeschamps.com/en

Harri Hudspith - https://harrihudspith.wordpress.com/about/

Sabina Sallis - http://www.sabinasallis.com/

Maria Luigia Gioffre - https://marialuigiagioffre.com/

 Alicia Frankovich - https://www.aliciafrankovich.com/

Katarina Kelsey & Fox Irving - https://www.katarinakelsey.co.uk/ https://foxirving.com/

Nina Danino - http://www.ninadanino.co.uk/

Ellen Southern  - http://www.ellensouthern.co.uk/


Dr Ese Stacey

Anna McNay - 

Elvia Wilk


This project offered rewards

£20 or more

£20 Reward

Gut Health Workshops: Fermenting Food/Fermenting Culture

£20 or more

£20 Reward

A tour of any Brewery of your choice!

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