Sendb00ks at Sainte Anne Gallery
On the 2nd of March we had the pleasure to host a literary salon at the beautiful ivy-covered Sainte Anne Gallery in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. The space is currently showing an exhibition of abstract sculptures by Berta-Blanca Ivanow, who sent a book by Yanagi Sōetsu with us last April which you can see and purchase here.
Near the entrance, was a curvy soap sculpture resembling marble accompanied by a bowl of water. Guests were free to wash their hands, mimicking the hands of the sculptor as they contribute to the work itself, which is intended to change shape from hundreds of hand washes during its time at the gallery. Other constellation-like sculptures made of wire and cloth hung from the ceiling, swinging constantly throughout the night.
The front window, floor, and wooden spiral staircase were overflowing with stacks of books and candles. Amongst them people sat on the floor, drinking wine, flipping through a book that caught their eye, or listening to readings by our guests. Fernanda Ballesteros, whose book Arigatou Goza-y-más we published last year, read a short story in the upstairs room surrounded by woven linen tapestries and granite sculptures. Ceramic flute sculptures made by Berta-Blanca who sang when dipped in bowls of water served as musical accompaniment.
Karo Rose also gave a reading about the meanings of the names of the months in Ukrainian as taught to her by her grandmother. Each month takes the name of a tree which begins to grow in the month as the seasons change like Липень, July, which means “the smell of the linden tree,” or an image of the experience of the weather like Січень, January, which means “cut into tiny pieces” because the small snowflakes and harsh wind leaves cuts on your face. We are very grateful to Karo for this moving and beautiful glimpse into Ukrainian culture as we hope for the people of Ukraine during this terrible time of escalating violence as war moves across the country.
Many others brought with them poems to read or books to exchange, friends of the project and new faces came together to listen and share. The books stayed in the gallery during the following week for all who came to see the exhibition or were drawn in off of the street by curiosity. Our thanks to everyone who came to the event and passed by to read alongside us. It was a real pleasure to be hosted by Masha and Bianca from Sainte Anne Gallery and to be in the company of such beautiful artworks by Berta.
Words by Collin Duncan
Photos and Collage by Gemma Janes.