Yesterday Lynn, Lulu and I spent the afternoon in the studio in East Boston. We completed 10 more collages which brings us up to 35 in all. We have decided that it would be interesting to open the process to other artists as well. My studio mate Melissa has become intrigued with our project, and we invited her to make a collage. The only "rule" is to use 1 page of the book -- using at least part of the page -- and the 5" x7" vellum paper we are using. We are curious to see what she comes up with.
Lucy was in New Orleans, but says that she has found some wonderful ephemera in second hand shops down there. What will she return with?
Lynn just received her copy of War and Peace as edited by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, so will start her way through this "large loose and baggy monster".
Lulu and I actually met in Russian class in college, and neither of us has studied the language in well over 25 years. We are both beginning to engage with the text in Russian. I was thrilled that I could read the following sentence yesterday -- "Natasha, he said, you know I love you, but...". Lynn reads and speaks French, and since 2% of the book is in French, that certainly comes in handy as well.
In an appendix, Tolstoy comments, "it is not a novel, still less an epic poem, still less a historical chronicle. War and Peace is what the author wanted and was able to express, in he form in which it is expressed. Such a declaration of the author's disregard of the conventional forms of artist prose might seem presumptous, if were premeditated and if it has no previous examples." I could say the same about this project -- what it is not. We are not necessarily responding to the text, we are a loose group, we don't know where this will take us, it is not an installation piece and we don't know how the final form will take place. Just a blog? a book? a show?
We are working, we are playing, we are loving, we are happy to be doing this together. -- Lola
Yes, I was also struck by Tolstoy's comments, and it easily applies to this project - it is and is going to be exactly what it needs to be in the form that it takes; it is and will be what we need to express, and in the form we need to express it. Through this project, Lola's inspiration, we are delving into collage artform (new for me!); re-connecting with language and ideas through which we originally connected in college but perhaps haven't thought too much about since; and reconnecting and deepening a friendship that began nearly 30 (whoa!) years ago. So, perhaps we won't really know what this project is about or where it's going until we get there! As Jane confesses to Marya (about her feelings for Nikolai) "…mais cette douce amitié, ces relations poétiques et si pures ont été un besoin pour mon coeur…" ("...but this sweet friendship, this relationship so poetic and so pure, is the need of my heart...") Perhaps this project, this friendship right now is the need of our hearts. --Lulu
page 17-18 of original text
collage, ink and acrylic paint on paper