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A different kind of cut-up storytelling: Beatrice Coron [Video]

November 15, 2011 | 12:12 pm

Beatrice Coron looks at pieces of paper and sees stories inside -- which she gets at, wielding scissors, like a sculptor. Sometimes she sees those stories in Tyvek, which is less likely to dissolve in the rain.

French-born, the self-described rebel was a shepherdess, truck driver, factory worker, cleaning lady and more before deciding to become an artist. In her TED Talk, presented at the March 2011 conference in Long Beach, she describes her work and her process.

"People told me 'you're making artist books,' " she says. She has now created dozens. "To me, they're fascinating objects to narrate a story." Her work has also appeared as public art, as fashion and as fine art in Washington's National Gallery of Art, MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Getty.

William S. Burroughs popularized literary cut-up storytelling with his groundbreaking 1959 novel "Naked Lunch." Following in the playful tradition of the Dadaists decades earlier, Burroughs took to his completed typed pages with scissors, rearranging the fragmentary results into new paragraphs and sentences.

Like the Dadists, Coron has a sense of play: She loves puns and oddities of language. "At one point, I had to do the whole nine yards. It's actually a papercut that's nine yards long," she says. "In life, and in papercutting, everything is connected. One story leads to another."


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-- Carolyn Kellogg