The Beginning of the Box projectWomen's Salon Paris is where The Box Project began
Rebecca Dolinsky - Note me in thy book of memoryThe Box Project began because once Mercedes Gertz had established Salons she asked Rebecca Dolinsky, “What do we do now?” And so Rebecca Dolinsky decided that it would be good for the Salonistas in each city to send the others a box. Long discussions ensued of what kind of box, of how many boxes there might be, of what we would like to send and also what we would like to receive.
Boxes are deeply symbolic, filled with secrets. When boxes are presents there is mystery and surprise.
What is in the box?
The Salonistas of Paris’ works are in matchboxes.
Lillian Davies, the art historian knew that Lygia Clark had made works with matchboxes.
Carmen Mariscal said that her grandfather had a matchbox factory.
And so The Salonistas in Paris decided to make works in matchboxes and send them to the Salonistas in Mexico, who would then send them to the Salonistas in Los Angeles.
Rebecca Dolinsky has sent several matchboxes.
One contains the story of The Little Match Girl.
Another contains a Pattern for making a box.
Another contains stamps of her self-portrait as the Marianne: Liberté, Égalité, Maternité.
Another contains miniature plants, a cactus and an orchid.
Another contains the printed words: maiden, mother, daughter, crone, the goddess, witches, wolves, spell, the gift, archetypes, dream, fairytale, Fortuna, the fates, black magic, box, memory, I will note thee in my book of memory.
AMANDA CRIDER PARIS PERFUMES AND TASTESParis Artist
Mona Oren - One Flower BoxThe box defines space where a tiny object can be kept preciously.
What do I want to keep?
One small flower sculpted in white wax.
So that it won’t melt away.
So that it won’t change color or get dusty.
So that I know that it will always, always be there.
Daria Gabriel - I'm not afraid to Stand in the DarkTwo match boxes covered in old lace, photographs, and buttons;
these small fragments gleaned from the streets of Paris: a palimpsest for the flâneur.
Inside each matchbox nestles a small painting to hold in the palm as
a poem, a postcard, a bonbon, a wish, a dream, a new energy, a reflection,
a love letter from across the sea.
Sylvie Decaux - Will You Bark With Me?I set out on the day we first talked about matchboxes at the Salon, and found myself picking leaves by the Seine. Aspens, poplars, willows, birches. I’m not sure I know all the names. It was glorious autumn and the leaves were yellow and red. That part of the river on the right bank just before coming up to the Conciergerie and l’île de la Cité has always had special meaning for me because of its particular beauty. Later I picked leaves in the Jardin des Plantes, a ginkgo leaf that is renowned for surviving everything, including nuclear disaster, such as Hiroshima, something I am in tune with since reading Svetlana Alexievich’s Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future, and a collection of testimonies from Fukushima, called Ses invisibles - the seeping toxics going into our air and our water. And another leaf, green with a brown border, maybe from a lime tree, just in front of La Biocoop avenue de la République, an organic food co-op where I sometimes shop for groceries. I put these leaves on my dining room table and started taking photographs as they gradually formed a nature morte (the French for still life, which literally means dead nature). I am haunted by the 6th extinction of species. Again at Jardin des Plantes, I visit the gallery of paleontology and compared anatomy, and gaze at showcase upon showcase of over 650 skeletons of species alive and dead, carefully reconstructed and labelled. I include the ticket in my matchbox - now that we have dissected and classified, is it not time for a holistic approach? To see the death of the leaves as part of the cycle of the seasons, the rebirth that will come in spring, but also our place in nature. Nous ne défendons pas la nature, nous sommes la nature qui se défend. In particular the fight to save land from urbanization or artificialization, the desire to retain the sounds we love.
I didn’t think in so many words, it just happened haphazardly. So my leaves were slowly drying on a newspaper and I had photos on my phone. I ended up printing them to make scrolls. I love scrolls. I tried making scrolls with leaves but they crumbled. I tried writing on the leaves but again they crumbled. So I wrote on the scrolls of photographs. First a poem that came to me on the bus. I see the box and its contents as a message in a bottle that will cross oceans to meet other women elsewhere with whom we have more in common than we think, maybe less in common than we hope. A desire for conversation. A desire for dialogue.
Marine Caille - From one Heart to AnotherI am currently working on a project of contemporary relics. Each relic represents a customized heart of a well-known or unknown woman who has either worked for the progress of humanity or has created a wonderful body of work, in the Arts or in a social context, and has often been disregarded by her contemporaries or the society of her time. Those hearts are generally presented in decorated boxes.
The box I am sending is presenting a tiny rose-planted heart nested in feathers - the pains of a woman’s heart have nurtured a bed of roses, symbol of love, balance and light and also in hermetic science a sign of rebirth. It is called “From One heart to Another,” so that it may travel to the beautiful artists across the ocean.
Leslie Green - Alchemical AppleA transformation dream box, an abstract painting is on the cover that evokes a landscape in movement, maybe a volcano. The interior originally had earth and a rose bud from my garden. But it was very heavy and crumbled with time. So now it has black apple peals as a floor cracking open for sulfuric yellow to show thorough. A dream is written on teabag paper, paper my mother collected to use creatively and I recuperated. The dream is from some years ago and speaks of the transformation a mother goes through when her daughter has lost her virginity. The mother moves into crone life as the maiden fulfills her sexuality.
2 A larger box, made by recycling a gluten-free cookie box, houses a burnt apple, which is light as a feather. The box is covered in beeswax. Apples and honey smells « purification », « an apple a day keeps the doctor away » as witches are healers, and « sing A » to bring sound to complete the 5 senses experience ! This apple burnt as I was engrossed in my studio so felt like a creation from letting myself go! Its beauty surprised me. Sharing with you with gratitude and I look forward to your response !
Caroline Emmet - Mirror IntimacyI like to film women artists in creation. I try to be at the right distance when I film them, neither too close so as to not be intrusive but close enough to be able to capture fleeting expressions on their faces while they are immersed in their creative process.
As I was thinking about the matchbox, I received a sales catalog for cashmere sweaters. Its cover was thick and glossy. I was about to throw it out when I noticed that one side of the cover was mirrored. I decided to cut it to the matchbox dimensions and glue it inside to create a mirrored space. Then, I decided to chose in my postcard collection of paintings, oil portraits of women. I cut these out and decided to play with their reflections inside the matchbox. Perhaps, the reflected portrait would deliver something that could not be perceived directly when I looked at the painting. I might be able through the reflection of the portrait to pierce a secret about the intimacy’s face.
I invite you to play with the portraits and to look at their reflection through the magnifying glass.
Simone Bendix - May Good Fortune Find YouWhen we work with what we have - our hands - we are directly in contact with our heart and hereby open the possibility of our good fortune finding us.
However small the fortune may appear to be, and even if it is only as small as to fit into a matchbox, if we are attentive and in tune with it it won’t pass us by - and it can easily spread out and be extended.
We have already been given the great fortune from birth : our hands, so if we use them well they may also guide us to great wisdom.
Ivana Kalvacheva - Up Close and PersonalWhen I was younger, the long bus rides at night were the most entertaining for me, as I loved looking at the illuminated windows of the passing residential buildings and wondered who lived there and what the micro-worlds were like inside each room.
My curiosity to get in touch with other people’s lives still remains and that helps me through my search for answers and my doubts.
Thirty years ago, when the country of my birth, my ancestors and my parents was just getting out of the totalitarian regime and the Soviet block, and despite the fall of the Berlin Wall, traveling to the West was not easy, let alone obtaining the so-dreamed US visa. I wouldn’t have believed if someone told me then that I would someday live in California for more than a decade, where my kids would be born, become an US citizen and later move to live in Paris.
It wasn’t easy as those are different cultures, different languages, different values, but I feel blessed with these challenges as I met incredible people on the road and still do.
This box is a representation of my passion in photography, a reflection of my curiosity and love of life and will allow you a “peek through the windows” where you will meet a small part of these important people in my life: from my family to my friends in Bulgaria, in California and in Paris. Light the candle and take a look.
Marie Liesse de Bellescize - Mix MatchA box presenting some of the Paris Salonistas, in the form of a puzzle and a cadavre exquis. So you can match and mismatch. It shows how our collective creativity feeds us, and how one artist can take on part of the identity of another.