The Headless Housewife: A Book of Anarchy and Imaginary Solutions

Caldiero-Oertli, Sara

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Place Published: [Salt Lake City, UT]
Date Published: 2014
Edition: 1/30
Book Id: 41294


An octagonal [18 cm x 18 cm x 28 cm] cedar box containing a scroll that is fifty-four feet. Fifty poems by Caldiero-Oertli and five color photographs by Mason Pugh. Box was handmade by the author. This edition was limited to thirty numbered copies. New poetry work by the Utah based writer and performance artist.


Artist Statement:I think of book art as refined woodworking. Both projects require mockups and planning out details in the third dimension. The materials are similar and come together through measuring, cutting, and gluing. I had the privilege of studying under a master woodworker, Erwin Oertli. A man who built his own home from the ground up. The Headless Housewife: A Book of Anarchy and Imaginary Solutions took its form as a scroll because the content deals with subverting linear structures and revising old forms. It engages the reader in all of the senses. The book is about a true event of discovering a doll and seeking to understand the headless through the study of Anarcha-Feminism and Georges Bataille's publications on Acéphale. The headless housewife is not one who has lost her head through hysteria. She is an individual with no leader and new reason centered in the body and heart. Imaginary solutions are short stories that unravel new ideas and possibilities. "One late summer evening in 2009 I went out to the garden to gather some herbs for dinner. I had been working the garden intensely since the spring, plowing the earth to create a proper environment for food to grow. I knew that dirt, each and every layer. It was a rainy day and the air was thick with humidity. The dusk light intensified all the shades of green. I bent down with my kitchen knife and chopped some fresh chives and sage and noticed a figurine half buried in the earth. The hair on my arms stood upright. The rainstorm had racked the ground and caused this chthonic creature to emerge. Upon closer examination, the doll was a woman with no head. She wore a bathrobe that was fixed to her body. Erosion had set in breaking apart the plastic and creating a fleshy substance out of the inanimate. Her name came to me, "The Headless Housewife." She was the epitome of a housewife hanging out in a robe, barefoot and elegant. She was so attractive and terrifying. The doll posed the question to me, "Will you go into the unknown?" I knew that if I accepted, a lot of work would follow. I thought about burying it, and forgetting that it ever happened. I chose to bend down and scoop up the little doll. I brought it into the house and sat her on my windowsill with my collection of natural things. Since then, she has tried on different heads, and many words have come forth."

By This Author: Caldiero-Oertli, Sara
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