The Incomplete Princess Book. Irina Popova. Dostoyevsky Publishing

Posted in art, Artist Book on January 11th, 2022
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Each copy of the “The Incomplete Princess Book” has a unique handmade frontcover.

Project “The Incomplete Princess Book” created by Russian-Dutch artist Irina Popova is a virtual journey to Russia: a new way of meeting people (through browsing their profiles), and a new way of photographing them (using the images found on the internet). For this project, the artist used the Russian version of Facebook — Vkontakte*.

Irina Popova has found over 8000 different profiles registered under the name Irina Popova. Indeed, both the surname Popova and first name Irina are very common in Russia. She browsed the profiles with a growing curiosity – because those Irina Popovas scattered over Russia, of different ages and social status, were likely to represent the full range of possibilities for a woman’s destiny given their different circumstances.

Social networks have not only become the substitutes for traditional family albums, but a major source of entertainment and a form of self-representation.

It seems that in such a patriarchal country as Russia women seriously struggle for male attention, and the most important factor for life success becomes a glamorous (and sometimes exaggerated) idea of beauty.

In it’s original edit the project contains about 36 000 images. Popova worked with 3 assistants for 3 months to download these images, one by one. The project was first presented in the Hermitage Museum, Amsterdam in November 2013, in a group exhibition “Russian Ateliers on Amstel”. Here Popova took two walls, filled with more than 1000 images.

It took her another two years to make the final selection and to shape it into book form.

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