As part of my Honours project, I wrote an exegesis. In a nutshell, I investigate how emotional intimacy is expressed in Japanese papers, collage, printmaking, paper cutting and artists' books. I thoroughly enjoyed the research process, and if you're interested in any of these topics, check out the sources in the reference list.
Here's the abstract for a tldr:
Emotional intimacy is a critical ingredient to healthy human development and relationships. Our current climate of digital communication and artificial intimacy on social media is slowly robbing us of this, and spiralling us into an epidemic of loneliness and isolation. This phenomenon was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to linger. For introverts like myself, the pandemic may have been a welcome relief; it granted us more solitude than usual, allowing us to spend extended, uninterrupted time to ourselves. But even the most introverted people need healthy, intimate relationships. We are socially relational creatures, and emotional intimacy allows us to experience a sense of purpose and worthiness in this marvelous, yet chaotic world. It brings us closer to the spirit of our humanity.
In this exegesis, I explore how emotional intimacy is the antidote to isolation and outline what criteria are necessary for this type of intimacy to occur - notably, in the realms of friendship and friendliness. I explore this through a series of metaphors in materials, collages, paper cutting and printmaking, which culminate in the entity of an artist’s book. I investigate how the material of Japanese paper behaves as a metaphor for intimacy, and I examine how the collages of
metamorphic, hybrid creatures exhibit the semiotics of intimacy through the lens of prägnanz - a branch of Gestalt theory. I then analyse the complete book as a metaphor for a body and I discuss how the viewer’s interaction with both the book and its presenter generates an intimate encounter. I reflect on my motives for this project - questioning whether or not friendship with oneself is possible. Lastly, I end with a brief survey of whether or not I have fulfilled my objective in the artwork, resolving that it’s not up to me to decide, but the viewer.