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CASATI – The Female Dandy by Johan Furåker is a book on the subject of Luisa Casati; an eccentric Italian socialite who sought to make her life a work of art – and succeeded. Casati was strangely omnipresent in the cultural and social landscape of the early 20th century.
Joakim Borda-Pedreira begins his text like this: “Even today we can perfectly imagine the Marchesa Luisa Casati walking down the waterfront stairs of Palazzo dei Leoni, dressed in yards of black Venetian lace and flanked by her two pet cheetahs. Although more or less forgotten since her death in 1957 at the age of 76, her image remains a cultural icon through the countless representations of her perpetuated in art and literature.
The Marchesa, an eccentric Italian socialite who sought to make her life a work of art – and succeeded in this – was strangely omnipresent in the cultural and social landscape of the early 20th century. She lived everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. Literary accounts of her extravagant social life offers glimpses of lavish parties in Rome, Venice and Paris, of famous artist lovers and an incomparable ability to always make outrageous entrances to costume balls. Indeed, for the Marchesa the costumes were not just fancy dress, but means of transformation through which she evoked the dark heroines of myth. Clad in peacock feathers and heavy archaic gold jewellery, the Marchesa becomes Clytaemnestra, Theodora, or Salome. She is the embodiment of the decadent fin de siècle aesthetic of Gustave Moreau, Aubrey Beardsley and Félicien Rops. Her contemporaries describe her often as a Sphinx; the enigmatic androgynous creature of antiquity that only speaks in riddles and is half woman, half beast.”
The book is supported by: Längmanska Stiftelsen, Sweden, Galleri Flach, Sweden, Galleri Arnstedt Östra Karup, Sweden and Galleri Ping Pong, Sweden
Published by Woodpecker Projects
Printed in 2017 at LaserTryk, Aarhus, Denmark
Edition: 700 copies
Special edition: 5 copies including an etching – in collaboration with Printer’s Proof, Denmark.
Paper: 170g Silk-paper and 260g Chromocard, offset
Graphic design: Ditte Ejlerskov and Johan Furåker
Text: Joakim Borda-Pedreira
Photo credit: Ditte Ejlerskov and Johan Furåker
Idea and concept: Ditte Ejlerskov and Johan Furåker