Every page of War and Peace? In Russian?

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The War and Peace Project

In 2009, Lola Baltzell, initiated a “crazy and enticing” collaborative art project: making a collage from each page of her old Russian edition of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  Lola did enlist some help, in fact a whole team of fellow artists.  Even with a team of seven, the project took three years.  It encompassed 752 pages of the text, resulting in 747 collages.  You can check out the project blog at warpeaceproject.blogspot.com or the project’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/War-and-Peace-Project/124653874246468

All series utilize some parameters to unify the elements of the whole. while working collaboratively with others these “rules” become even more important to ensure cohesion.  Here’s what “Team Tolstoy” came up with:
Each collage addresses one page of the original Russian text
Each collage must be 7inches tall and 5 inches wide
Each collage must be made on vellum paper
Each piece must use at least one word of the original text in Russian
The artist may not go back and touch up or re-do any collage
Each artist is free to respond the story line or not

Since reading about the war and Peace Project, the idea of responding to every page of a work that’s been instrumental in shaping my life has been intriguing.  Each time I embark on a new series of artworks, I wonder if I’m ready to take on such a long-term commitment and WHAT books have had huge influences on my life.

I now have a partial answer:  I have 48 days to work on art this summer, I want to explore regular, geometric shapes and freely drawn ones, and there are 47 Propositions in Book I of Euclid’s Elements.

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