I Also Fight Windmills is a visual response to literary texts written by the modernist, trilingual and largely forgotten author of Polish origin Sophie Gaudier-Brzeska (1872–1925). Ready has reimagined Gaudier-Brzeska’s story of a migrant woman from Eastern Europe who travelled west to fulfil her ambition of becoming a writer. The rigid rules of the old societal order, the lack of opportunities for women, poverty and disillusionment led to her mental instability and death in a mental asylum.
By combining Ania Ready’s photography and Sophie Gaudier-Brzeska’s writing, I Also Fight Windmills explores the themes of displacement, creativity, loneliness, a disempowering sense of guilt, and social exclusion. Through re-enactment and the performative aspect of photography, it brings to life an undeservedly forgotten and sometimes stigmatized writer.
Published by VIKA
To fight windmills is to fight something larger and stronger than yourself. This title was suggested by VIKA to replace the original Hysterical Woman from Sophie’s Hysterika. This title is taken from another quote from Sophie Gaudier-Brezska printed in the endpapers.
The edit was tricky as the images were experimental and varied. VIKA decided to edit the photography to create a poetic, emotional narrative, rather than a historical one. The chronology of the edit is loosely based around Sophie’s life.
To bring Sophie’s voice into the book, VIKA created the ‘book within a book’ concept: small yellow pages emulating Sophie’s archives, taking typographic inspiration from A House of Leaves. The bind is particularly unusual and pushes the boundaries of the traditional book binding process.
I Also Fight Windmills is made with a maximised consideration for the environment. Papers are 40/80% recycled, and the book cloth is made of yarn derived from ocean bound plastic.