Tristitia & Hilaria (vol. II)

Marbled paper, tie-dye fabric.

15,6 x 21,6 x 1,5 cm

This book is meant to be a kind of diary with a basic structure of it’s content. The idea of the structure is based on the type of diary that appears in Polish writer’s Olga’s Tokarczuk novel “House of Day, House of Night”.

The protagonist of the story is a nun, a bearded saint virgin. She is a kind of Wilgefortis, a female saint of popular religious imagination whose legend arose in the 14th century, and whose distinguishing feature is a large beard. Her name is thought by some to derive from the Old German “heilige Vartez” (“holy face”), a translation of the Italian “Volto Santo”; others believe it to derive from the Latin “virgo fortis” (“strong virgin”).

According to the narrative of the legend, a teen-aged noblewoman named Wilgefortis had been promised in marriage by her father to a pagan king. To thwart the unwanted wedding, she had taken a vow of virginity, and prayed that she would be made repulsive. In answer to her prayers she sprouted a beard, which ended the engagement. That’s why this bearded virgin also became a saint venerated in particular by women who wished to be liberated (“disencumbered”) from abusive husbands.

In the novel of O. Tokarczuk, the story of the virgin is amplified with beautiful details and one of them is her diary. The nun writes down her sad thoughts on the one side of her diary named as “Tristitia”, and her joyful thoughts on the other side called “Hilaria”. In the middle of a diary appears her description of divine revelations and her mystical experience.

I thought, this is a perfect idea for a diary which makes some order and therapy of the mind.

This is a more developed version of what I was working out before and which was just like an idea. The first version you can find here.