About this piece:
19 Lessons is a speedwriting practice schoolbook altered in a fashion of eighteenth-century England practice known as grangerism, but with a post-modern twist. The book is heavily altered with fire, collages using antique photographs of old fashioned school classes and students, pop ups, and hand drown illustrations in ink and watercolors. On those watercolors, a numerous children dressed as Victorian schoolchildren, first innocently linger on lessons pages, but coming closer to the Lesson 19, set their school on fire.
In eighteenth-century England, books were a valuable commodity, and it was a common practice of book owners to add additional illustrations and commentaries to their own volumes. So common was the practice, publishers even included blank pages to accommodate such additions. This practice became known as grangerism.
From the beginning, the 1940th Speedwriting, College Edition, Book 3, lucked all the charm and appealing of vintage books I have used before for my projects. Full of tedious lessons, dreadful, like any institutional education, it made me think about formal schooling of Victorian era and corporal punishment. As I went through its pages with a soldering tool, burning tunnels and holes, as unconsciously wishing to set the book on fire, the idea of 19 Lessons was born.
paper, ink, watercolors, fire
Dasha Ziborova was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has a BA in Architecture and Design, from the Baron Stieglitz St. Petersburg Academy of Art and Design. In the past twenty years of her artistic career, Dasha alternated between creating children picture books (including the award winning Crispin the Terrible and In English, of Course); large scale public art projects (designing murals for Waldorf Astoria, Plaza Hotels and Atlantic Center in Brooklyn); and fine art (working with altering old vintage books)