The Self and Text: The Importance of Language Within Confessional Artwork, by Madeline Girling-Jones (FULL)

Cover Leaflet, Madeline Girling-Jones

Madeline Girling-Jones was awarded one of Art in Liverpool’s Publication Awards in partnership with Liverpool Hope University. You can read a shortened version of this study here:
The full study can be read at: https://www.artinliverpool.com/features/the-self-and-text-the-importance-of-language-within-confessional-artwork-by-madeline-girling-jones/

THE SELF AND TEXT: THE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE WITHIN CONFESSIONAL ARTWORK.

INTRODUCTION

Confessional art “encourages an intimate analysis of the artist’s, artist’s subjects’, or spectators confidential, and often controversial, experiences and emotions.” (Jackson and Hogg, 2020), resulting in often emotive and autobiographical pieces of artwork, whose concepts are elevated through the use of text. The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between language and confessional artwork, examining why text is used and how language is explored. This will be primarily through an examination of Tracey Emin and Sophie Calle’s artwork.

Both Emin and Calle incorporate text within their broad catalogue of work, using language to express and explore the confessional aspects of their practice. Although language is apparent in a multitude of Emin’s practice, this study will focus specifically on three pieces of work which exemplify the use of text: (Fig.1) More Love Again (2011), (Fig.2) I Felt You And I Knew You Loved Me (2008) and (Fig.3) Mad Tracey from Margate. Everyone´s Been There (1997). Take Care of Yourself (2007) by Sophie Calle (Fig.4) will also be explored, concentrating on how language is utilised and how it emotively connects with the viewer and the participants. Through the discussion of these artists and artworks, the following three related themes will be explored: (a) role of handwriting, (b) emotive response from language and (c) representation of an inner monologue. Through these themes the study will identify; how handwriting operates within confessional artwork, explore how the semantics of text allows an emotional connection between the work and the viewer and finally, examine how what might be seen as the inner monologue of the work communicates the personal experience of the artist, arguing overall for the importance of text in both artist’s work.

There is a research challenge in this field. To understand why an artist would choose to use text is left to the viewer’s speculation and interpretation. As such it is something which cannot always be measured or analysed by conventional research methods. The approach to be adopted here therefore does not fall neatly into quantitative or qualitative research methodologies. The key premise is that there is no fixed or absolute ‘truth’ to be found in artwork. Nor is it appropriate to adopt a naïve subjectivist approach in which artwork is reduced to being objects that simply give the viewer a straightforward aesthetic experience. The approach taken here (in terms of methodology) is slightly more ambiguous, an experience of a work of art inevitably involves a ‘reading’ or an act of interpretation. There is no neatly formulated method. Interpretation depends on the quality of analysis, insights and judgements that are used. To an important extent, the study is also influenced by the concept of “deconstruction” as developed by the philosopher Jacques Derrida. Deconstruction relies on the idea that there is not a single meaning intrinsic to a work (Chin-Yi, 2010). Instead it proposes that there can be several with the purpose of revealing the assumptions that the artists are perhaps wanting to show. However, Derrida also stresses that we can never be totally certain about intentions, but that we can attempt to analyse. The overall aim of this study nevertheless remains that of seeking to understand why artists may use text and how the use of text allows confessional artists to reveal their private self through the intimacy of language.

In terms of ‘data collection’, primary research is gathered through formal and contextual analysis of Tracey Emin and Sophie Calle’s work, using critical analysis to demonstrate the role of text within their work. The ability to see the artwork or speak directly to the artists is unattainable. However, secondary sources documenting their work through books, articles and videos are vast and become the essential material of research. To actually be able to hear the artists discuss their work gives further insight to the topic (Tate Shots, 2008; CCA, 2011; DIOR, 2020).

LITERATURE REVIEW

The literature is extensive in reference to Tracey Emin and the use of text within art. However in comparison there is a distinct lack of literature on Sophie Calle. There are articles available, which explore Sophie Calle’s worksuch as; art critic Fisun Guner’s article in the New Statesman (2009) which briefly discusses Take Care of Yourself, commenting on the deconstruction of text, noting how language becomes the centrepiece of the ‘confessional’ project. Although there is a dialogue around the use of text and the confessional within Calle’s work, there is an absence of in-depth analysis with the exception of catalogues such as Take Care of Yourself (Calle, 2007), which provides detailed documentation of the project.

The literature in relation to Tracey Emin allows a critical exploration of her practice, incorporating both the visual elements and the conceptual underpinning that defines her autobiographical and confessional nature. Telling stories: performing authenticity in the confessional art of Tracey Emin (Smith, 2017) encourages a discussion surrounding the idea of authenticity within the confessional aspects of Emin’s work, examining how the performance of storytelling is utilised and the issues surrounding the repetition of ‘confessions’. There is a range of discussion and critique covering topics such as: feminism and intimacy that enables a conversation around the importance and relevance of text within her work in The Art Of Tracey Emin (Merck and Townsend, 2020) but there is an absence of sole focus on this topic within the chapters.

The lack of dedicated discussion can also be seen in regard to the cross examination of language within confessional artwork. Although it is a prominent theme, there are no key texts, which support or explore both themes in depth. The confessional is explored by Outi Remes, with reference to Emin’s work in Replaying the Old Stereotypes into an Artistic Role: the case of Tracey Emin (2009), encouraging a discussion and analysis regarding the confessional and it’s role within contemporary art. This notion is explored further in The self-design of contemporary confessional art (Juliff and Early, 2019) which expands on the art movement, focusing on the shift within contemporary art with particular reference to video art. Additionally, Writing On The Wall (Morely, 2007), explores the relationship between text and image within Modern Art, chronologically examining the works of numerous artists, including Emin, constructing an approach which examines how text is used leaving an absence of analysis and conclusion as to why text is used, which will be addressed within this study.

ROLE OF HANDWRITING

The confessional can be defined as, “intentional revelation of the private self.” (Jackson and Hogg, 2020), operating as an avenue which lends itself to the expressive notion of handwriting. The purpose of this section is to examine how handwriting operates within confessional artwork by Emin and Calle, focusing on how the visual element of the written word contributes towards the work, exploring notions of intimacy and immediacy.

The immediacy of handwriting encourages mark making, which reflects the artist’s intention, revealing the private self through the way in which they choose to write. Dave Kim explores this notion:

Studies have shown a link between handwriting and personality, how the shape, size and ligatures of our script can reveal details about our inner lives and character traits. There’s something illuminating but oddly voyeuristic about carefully examining a note written by a stranger. It feels like peeking at a private message. (Kim, 2013, p.135)

The intrusive nature of observing a stranger’s handwriting provokes the notion of intimacy and vulnerability surrounding handwriting. There is a sense of intimacy to be gained through the ability to decipher another’s script. Understanding and recognising the curves in which someone writes is a privilege obtained only through knowledge of another. The exposure of this form of intimacy can be seen through confessional artwork. The display of handwriting invites the viewers, strangers, into an intimate part of the artist’s life, allowing a realm of vulnerability to be opened, ultimately revealing the private self.

Tracey Emin’s handwriting is undeniable within her practice, becoming a prominent feature with a particular focus within her mono-print and neon light works. More Love Again (2011) is a 15 x 20.5cm mono print which depicts the following, written in loose capitalised handwriting: “I had to ask to be loved again and again and again”, with a small figurative drawing beneath which is suggestive of a human figure. The use of handwriting immediately communicates a personal element to the work, encouraging the viewer to engage through the ‘offering up’ of her script. The way in which the text is written, feels sharp and jagged, suggesting an emotive motivation, allowing the viewer access into the conceptual underpinning of the piece, solely through the expressive notion of handwriting. Additionally, the ‘N’s’ are presented backwards. In order to create a mono-print of legible text; the artist has to write the letters backwards, and the neglect to do so suggests that the artist is writing freely and quickly without hesitation (Merck & Townsend, 2020), instead of pre-meditating her words. This proposes ideas of authenticity, contributing to the confessional nature of the work through handwriting. Another interpretation of this ‘mistake’ could be the educational background of the script owner, the failure to predict or recognise the error suggests a lower awareness of the work’s grammar. The display of this ‘mistake’ encourages a deconstructive approach, allowing multiple interpretations to be made in a result to uncover the narrative behind the handwriting, allowing further insight into Emin’s private self whilst simultaneously presenting the possibility of vulnerability in allowing the viewer to see her human error.

Another way in which Emin utilises handwriting is through her neon light pieces. I Felt You And I Know You Loved Me (2008) is a linear 20ft pink neon installation, situated in the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, depicting the title in Emin’s cursive handwriting. The handwriting differs to the one used in More Love Again (2011): it is neat and sophisticated, in an accessible manner enabling the viewer to approach the work without hesitation. Visually, the use of cursive handwriting encourages the piece to feel more stylised and soft, creating shapes and lines, which are aesthetically stimulating, suggesting that the style of handwriting can operate as a vehicle of expression in conjunction with the owner’s style. Additionally, the nature of Emin’s neon work, requires time and intention, implying that the words ‘I felt you and I knew you loved me’ were premeditated.

The premeditation of the text raises the question of authenticity. Laura Lake Smith (2017) has discussed the notion of how far Emin’s confessional art divulges any personal truth. She introduces the idea that ‘confessions’ are ‘one-offs’ resulting in the repetition of Emin’s life stories becoming a form of story telling, reworking and presenting aspects of her life, which can be seen through the notion of premeditated text. Smith states, “Conventionally understood, confession is a singular act, a truthful admission about a deed, not an ongoing act with slightly different iterations. While the former notion of confession suggests authenticity, the latter implies deception.” (Smith, 2017, p.300). The issue of authenticity suggests that although Emin’s work reveals the private self, the redistribution of personal experience suggests this is a revelation of a constructed self, which can be performed through her artwork. The access to time and reflection enables Emin to consider the effect of the words, controlling the direction in which the piece will be viewed, ultimately constructing how the viewer will perceive them. There is a difference between the selves portrayed in the two artworks, suggesting that the immediacy of the mono print creates a raw vulnerable response, conveying a self which is seen to be more authentic and vulnerable. Therefore, the choice of medium allows handwriting to be used in a calculating manner, with more careful consideration of the choice of language, differing to the immediate, diary-like entry found in More Love Again. This suggests that the medium and style in which handwriting is used within confessional artwork operates as a channel of expression, which can be utilised to reveal differing versions of the private self, encouraging the analysis of the artist’s experience and emotions through handwriting.

The use of handwriting is also prominent in Take Care Of Yourself (2007), a collaborative project in which Sophie Calle shares a typed email from a past lover in which he ends the relationship, with 107 other women, each interpreting and responding to the letter individually, creating a collective response to the break-up email. Within the project, handwriting is used as a vehicle of immediate response, with particular reference to its use as annotation. Within the project, linguist, semiologist and mediaevalist, Irene Rosier-Catach uses her own handwriting to annotate the email, allowing herself to physically engage with the text. The way, in which the words are written, is energetic and messy, suggesting that Rosier-Catach was focusing on communicating her thoughts rather than the application of them. This reveals the expressive and immediate nature that handwriting can portray. Characteristics such as the angle of writing can reveal possibilities about the author (Kim, 2013). Within her work, large blocks of writing are slanted to the right, through this the viewer could interpret that the author is right handed, revealing a private detail. Additionally, the positioning of the handwriting suggests that Rosier-Catach was leaning on the paper, body language, which proposes the idea of concentration and engagement with the text. The details retrieved from the physical use of handwriting found within the annotation of this example, allows insight into the private self of the writer. If the annotations were to be typed, the same connections might have not been made or considered. The notion of handwriting reveals details of the private self, allowing a sense of authenticity to be found through the way the uniqueness of script.

The notion of authenticity discussed within Emin’s work can also be seen through the break-up email around which Take Care Of Yourself is constructed. The nature of an email as an artefact results in it being typed which then allows the author to edit and construct the message, carefully considering the tone and how the recipient will interpret the words. The use of the typed text hides the personal and human aspects that come with communication, burying the mistakes and time spent rewording and constructing how to translate feelings into words. It could be argued that the lack of handwriting in conjunction with the emotionally fuelled topic of the closure of a relationship causes the language to feel ‘cold’, through the presentation of the words. This in turn supports the argument that handwriting operates emotionally, creating and signifying a personal aspect through the scripture of the owner, revealing the private self, accidental flaws and all.

EMOTIVE RESPONSE FROM LANGUAGE

There is a cruciality surrounding emotional response and confessional artwork, which is heavily dependent on the use of language. The purpose of this section is to explore how the semantics of text allows an emotional connection between the work and the viewer, contributing towards the confessional aspects of the work. Semantics is the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning (Oxford Dictionary, 2020). There is an importance concerning language and the confessional, as language enables the communication of human emotion and experience, which ultimately can often provoke an emotive response. Confessional artwork encourages the disclosure of personal experience and emotion: although the essence of emotion can be successfully communicated through painting and other disciplines of art, there is a level of success through the use of language for some viewers, which cannot be disregarded. In essence, the combination of the text, the semantics, and the media of presentation confessional artwork can develop a unique form of emotional discourse.

The contents of the break-up email from Sophie Calle’s project, Take Care Of Yourself (2007), are emotionally fuelled. Although the message is directed at Calle, there is a universal response to topics such as love, which can be successfully conveyed through language, translating into an emotional response for the viewer. The way in which a person chooses to write is purposeful. There is an obvious style adopted through personality and mannerisms but there are also decisions behind the tone and choice of words. These particular words can change the way in which the viewer feels when they read them, purposely directing the emotive response. In the break-up email around which Take Care Of Yourself is constructed, the author writes “not seeing you or talking to you or catching the way you look at people and things, and your gentleness towards me – that I will miss terribly.” The choice of language here suggests tenderness towards the subject; the use of the adjective ‘terribly’ conveys there is a physical pain surrounding loosing Calle. The use of more simple or generic language could suggest a lack of familiarity between the two subjects. However, the addition of intimate details creates a personal element, which conveys a tone of warmth to the text. There is a difficulty in representing love, as it is not physically tangible. However, language allows the subtleties of love to be explored, recording the little details, which you notice and will miss about someone, which it could be argued can only be expressed through language. The disclosing of this intimacy which can be seen through the public display of Calle’s break up letter, allows the viewer to connect, emotively, ultimately revealing the private self, with the cost of vulnerability. The ‘offering up’ of the artist’s personal experience is a theme, which reoccurs within confessional artwork, becoming a distinguished part of the artistic practice encouraging and gaining an emotive connection with the viewer by performing authenticity through the vocalisation of feelings, experiences and emotions through text, enabling a range of meanings for viewers within both, Calle and Emin’s practice.

I Felt You And I Know You Loved Me (2008) is another effective example concerning the notion of emotive response to language. When discussing the piece, Emin states,

“I thought it would be nice for people to sit in the cathedral and have a moment to contemplate the feelings of love it’s something which we just don’t have enough time to think about.” (Emin, 2013). This comment suggests that the meaning of the words evokes feelings of love, implying that the language used enables connections to be made, allowing the viewer to directly respond. The use of the phrase “a moment to contemplate” reinforces the idea that the semantics of the text engages with the viewer to create a connection with the work. Whether positive or negative, there is still a response encouraged by the understanding and acknowledgement of the text.

The presentation of I Felt You And I Know You Loved Me below a stained glass window in an Anglican Cathedral is symbolically significant. The placement of this piece allows speculation of Emin’s faith and spirituality through the notion of deconstruction. Emin’s practice openly references abortion and themes of vulgarity, clashing with the ideas of purity found within Christianity. Therefore, the location of this piece is highly relevant, providing a background to the work, creating a natural contrast. However, the use of language juxtaposes the immediate narrative of controversy and loudness often associated with Emin alongside the ‘softness’ conveyed by the actual choice of words. This juxtaposition allows insight to a more reflective side of the artist, encouraged by the ambiguity of the text and which could be argued reveals a version of Emin which the public often choose to neglect. In addition, the decision to place her artwork inside a Cathedral suggests that there is a level of spirituality to the artist, a very private aspect of the self, which she has consciously allowed the viewer to speculate. The choice of language is ambiguous however, due to the setting, the use of the pronoun ‘you’ could be a reference to God or a religious symbol, reinforcing the revelation of her faith, therefore a part of the self. Thus, the use of language within I Felt You And I Know You Loved Me could be seen as eliciting an emotive response between the work and the viewer, encouraging introspection of the viewer to their own faith or spirituality, even if only momentarily.

Although the success of the emotive response created between the viewer and confessional artwork through language is crucial, nevertheless the complexity of language and the emotional connections found within it are not always accessible. Unlike pictorial art, artwork which involves text does rely on the presumption that the viewer can read and understand the language in order to connect with the emotional discourse. This therefore carries the risk of excluding a part of a potential audience, which may have a lower reading level due to a lack of education or ability. The neglect of this consideration risks alienating a proportion of the viewers, disabling them from creating a successful emotive connection with the work, as confessional aspects found within the text, would not be easily revealed. Additionally, there is a concern of Anglo-Centricity, creating a language barrier based upon the secondary presumption that the audience can understand or read a language such as English. However, the use of language is dependent on the artist themselves. It could be argued that an artist such as Emin could not create artwork in any other language, the sentimentality of recounted stories relies on memory and the immediacy of recall which is most naturally accessed in the artist’s first language. If Emin where to anticipate this, then potentially the work could lose the spontaneity that comes from fluency in a first language, which would possibly restrict the authenticity.

In contrast Sophie Calle, who is French, writes and creates within her language but also provides translations for languages such as English in the publications of catalogues and books. In addition to this, in the English edition of Take Care of Yourself, the break-up email is translated into; braille, morse code, hexadecimal language, shorthand, binary form and as a barcode. The extensive representation of language is exemplary, although only the email is translated this way, the accessibility created by the multitude of translations allows a wider audience to participate and creates an emotional response with the language found in the break-up email, becoming a contributor within their own right. However, the delicacy of colloquial or shorthand annotations could become lost in translation, weakening the intensity of the response for some viewers in comparison to those who view and understood the original language. Whilst still open to the possible charge of Anglo-Centrism the decision to work exclusively in English by Emin may have been explicitly made to avoid such possibilities.

Additionally, the use of wall descriptions and audio devices help to close the gap which education, privilege and language barriers can leave. Simon Morely explores the multi-medial relationship between text and image in Writing on the Wall (2007), discussing the traditional relationship in which text is used as a form of communication, coexisting in the same space as image. This could be applied to translations or wall captions, which provide context or a description of the work, which help to facilitate the emotional discourse to be communicated. Through the additional use of language, an emotional connection or response can now be made between the viewer and work, allowing further accessibility to the work concluding that the universal understanding of the human experience can be communicated through language, translated, spoken or written.

REPRESENTATION OF AN INNER MONOLOGUE

An inner monologue or stream of consciousness is defined as “the continuous flow of sense‐perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and memories in the human mind” (Oxford Reference, 2020). Often used as a literary device in novels such as The Waves (1931) by Virginia Woolf and The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrack (1915) by T.S. Eliot, the inner monologue has become a recurring motif within confessional artwork, allowing the personal experience of the artist to be communicated, through language both visual and textual. Both Tracey Emin and Sophie Calle express their inner voices within their work, translating their private thoughts through text.

Emin’s diary-like entries found within her mono print work, More Love Again, exemplify this use of the inner monologue, accessing her conscious mind and making immediate recordings through print. The use of this motif allows insight to Emin’s emotional dialogue with herself, enabling the viewer to access her thoughts and feelings, which results in a communication of her personal experience, a key factor of confessional artwork. Additionally, the immediacy gained from the medium of mono printing, encourages direct tangibility from the artist’s mind onto the paper, resulting in immediate response of language, which convey the inner monologue due to the lack of time between thought and action. What might be seen as the inner monologue within Emin’s work is also conveyed through the use of first person, providing the artist’s perspective and personal recount of a feeling or moment, an element, which is lost through another narrative such as third person. By use of ‘I’ as the pronoun, Emin immediately presents her personal experience, giving the viewer privileged access to the emotional monologue of the artist, communicating her internal thoughts and feelings. If the text were to be written in second or third person, the confessional aspect would be greatly diminished as Emin would no longer ‘own’ her own experience therefore not revealing the private self, but a constructed notion of self, derived from the third party. Thus, the use of first person encourages the representation of the inner monologue, successfully communicating the artist’s personal experience.

Another way in which the inner monologue is represented in Emin’s work is through her appliqué blankets. Mad Tracey from Margate. Everyone´s Been There (1997), is an appliqué blanket, measuring 267 x 216cm, made from fabric provided by friends and loved ones. The piece uses a collection of text, drawing, pattern and colour, creating a collage of self-expression, communicating the artist’s personal experience (Arnold, 2014). The title of this piece, ‘Mad Tracey from Margate’, refers to her intense identification with where she was brought up, giving the viewer insight to the perceived personality of Emin and context to the work before viewing it. Visually, the work has a chaotic order. The text is fragmented, grouped together by colour or material echoing the colliding thoughts of the internal monologue. Some may argue that the choice of erratic presentation creates a visual representation of the inner monologue, creating a space which reflects how the stream of consciousness fluctuates and rests on certain thoughts, allowing the text to jump from her personal experience, memories, thoughts and conversations that circulate in her conscious mind. Therefore stitching the words onto the blanket allows her internal monologue to become physically tangible. The revelation of these private thoughts invites the viewer into the vulnerable aspect of confessional art, granting access to the personal experience of the artist through language.

Additionally, the use of appliqué and hand stitching is an engaging medium to explore the representation of the inner monologue within confessional artwork. In 100: The Work That Changed British Art Patricia Ellis states, “through the action of “sewing” out her stories, Emin adds an extra personal touch to her work, making it more believable and genuine. She is literally spinning the yarn of her life: ancient diary entries, love letters, childhood memories, conversations she’s never forgotten.” (2003, p.209). The conceptual use of ‘sewing out her stories’ contributes towards the confessional aspect of the work, physically presenting her life though language. The textures and inconsistencies found within her fabric work create ‘softness’, reflecting the warmth and vulnerability of the private self, which is difficult to find within ‘colder’ mediums such as digital work. Part of the artist herself has contributed through the physical intervention of sewing. The consumption of time and labour within the medium ultimately ‘pours’ part of the artist into the work. The physical representation suggests disorder and colliding thoughts, perhaps revealing how her mind works and communicates. However, the delicate and soft attributes associated with textile and embroidery work juxtaposes the disorderly nature of the work, possibly inferring the clashing and contradictions found within personality. Through the combination of choice of material and the representation of the inner monologue, multiple versions of the self can be seen through Mad Tracey from Margate. Everyone´s Been There. This creates a stimulating piece of confessional artwork, which utilises the physical presentation of the inner monologue and stream of consciousness to convey and communicate a fragment of Emin’s personal experience, capturing it through the permanent nature of the blanket.

A different representation of the inner monologue can be found within Take Care of Yourself. The professions of the 107 different women who participate, range from a crossword writer to a sexologist, each dissecting and digesting the email in a way, which comes naturally to them, creating a varied range of representation. The use of annotation is prominent, utilising it as a vehicle of self-expression to record their immediate thoughts and responses when reading the email, therefore recording their initial thoughts and observations through writing. The act of annotation therefore becomes a form of representation of the inner monologue. Furthermore, it could be argued that the responses of the 107 women represent fragments of their own inner monologue. The decision to incorporate these responses into the project could be viewed as Calle’s way of ‘processing’ her own inner monologue. Although it does not convey obvious confessional aspect of the personal experience, it allows the reader to gain a further understanding of the author who inhabits it, therefore allowing access into aspects of their private selves.

Similar to the chaotic arrangement of text found in Mad Tracey from Margate. Everyone´s Been There, the way in which the language is represented echoes the immediacy and authenticity of the response. The nature of annotation replies upon the analysis of text and the noting of thoughts or questions, which come from the author’s immediate stream of consciousness as they read and digest the text. The added use of underlining, highlighting and visual connections reinforces the instant reaction and engagement between the author and the text, reflecting part of themselves in the words they write or scribble down. Although annotation is not traditionally seen as a form of representation of the inner monologue, there is an argument for it physically representing the internal process, through language. Ultimately, the representation of the inner monologue communicates a form of the personal experience, conveying the importance of language, and it’s role within confessional artwork.

CONCLUSION

The overall aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between language and confessional artwork, examining why text is used and how language is explored. This was progressed through reasoned argument and interpretation guided by the sensitivities of deconstruction and the literature reviewed. The discussion focused on the following objectives: how handwriting operates within confessional artwork, how the semantics of text allows an emotional connection between the work and the viewer and how the inner monologue of the work communicates the personal experience of the artist. The exploration of the objectives argues that text is used as a form of communication, revealing the private self associated with the confessional, using language as a vehicle for self-expression.

There is also an importance on how the text is presented. The use of handwriting contributes a personal and intimate element, which cannot be recreated through typography, revealing errors and imperfections, representing the private self through the intimacy of script. Although the issue of authenticity has been argued (Smith, 2017), the vulnerability conveyed through confessional artwork, retold or not, encourages an array of emotional responses to be created between the viewer and artwork, ultimately, allowing language to construct and uncover the self.

ILLUSTRATIONS

FIGURE 1. Tracey Emin, More Love Again, 2011.

FIGURE 2. Tracey Emin, I Felt You And I Knew You Loved Me, 2008.

FIGURE 3. Tracey Emin, Mad Tracey from Margate Everyone’s Been there, 1997.

FIGURE 4. Sophie Calle, Take Care Of Yourself, 2007.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

BOOKS

Calle, S. (2007) Take Care Of Yourself. 2nd ed. Arles, France: Actes Sud.

Candida Smith, R. (2006) Text & Image: Art And The Performance Of Memory. 1st ed. London: Transaction Publishers.

Eliot, T. (1915) The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Warwick: Greville Press.

Ellis, P. and Saatchi, C. (2003) 100: The Work That Changed British Art. London: London : Jonathan Cape in association with the Saatchi Gallery, p.209.

Emin, T. (1991) Monoprint Diary. London: White Cube.

Emin, T. and Jones, J. (2017) Tracey Emin. New York: Rizzoli.

Kokoli, A. and Cherry, D. (2020) Tracey Emin. London: Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Merck, M and Townsend, c. Ed. (2002) The Art Of Tracey Emin. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.

Morley, S. (2007) Writing On The Wall. London: Thames & Hudson.

Woolf, V. (1931) The Waves. London: Hogarth Press.

ARTICLES/JOURNALS

Chin-Yi, C. (2010) Metaphysics and Representation: Derrida’s Views on the Truth in Painting. Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, [online] 2(1).

Dryden, D. (2001) Susanne Langer and William James: Art and the Dynamics of the Stream of Consciousness. The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, [online] 15(4), p.272-285.

Fanthome, C., (2008) Articulating authenticity through artifice: the contemporary relevance of Tracey Emin’s confessional art. Social Semiotics, [online] 18(2), p.223-236.

Fanthome, C. (2006) The Influence and Treatment of Autobiography in Confessional Art: Observations on Tracey Emin’s Feature Film Top Spot. Biography, [online] 29(1), p.30-42. 

Guner, F. (2009) She’s lost control: when Sophie Calle’s lover dumped her by email, she turned life into art. Fisun Guner on a woman who binds the helpless and confessional to the coolly conceptual. [online] 138, p.43.

Juliff, T. and Early, J. (2019) The self-design of contemporary confessional art. Journal of Visual Art Practice, 18(4), p.342-358.

Kim, D. (2013) The post-it man: essay: with Instagram, Hans Ulrich Obrist showcases the lost art of handwriting in the digital age. Surface, [online] (Issue 104), p.P134-138.

Remes, O. (2009). Replaying the Old Stereotypes into an Artistic Role: the case of Tracey Emin. Women’s History Review, 18(4), p.559-575.

Smith, L. (2017) Telling stories: performing authenticity in the confessional art of Tracey Emin. Rethinking History, [online] 21(2), p.296-309.

WEBSITES

Arnold, K. (2014) TRACEY EMIN (B. 1963), Mad Tracey From Margate. Everyone´s Been There. [online] Available at: https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-tracey-emin-b-1963-mad-tracey-from-5834592/ [Accessed 29 November 2020].

Jackson, R. and Hogg, M. Ed. (2020) SAGE Reference – Confessional Art. [online]

Sk.sagepub.com. Available at: http://sk.sagepub.com/reference/identity/n45.xml  [Accessed 20 March 2020].

Jones, C. (2008) Message of love to Liverpool from Tracey Emin. [online] Liverpool Echo. Available at: https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/message-love-liverpool-tracey-emin-3473408 [Accessed 27 December 2020].

Oxford Learners Dictionaries. (2020) Semantics noun – Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com. [online] Available at: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/semantics?q=semantics

[Accessed 28 November 2020].

Oxford Reference. (2021) Stream of Consciousness. [online] Available at: https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199208272.001.0001/acref-9780199208272-e-1089

[Accessed 24 November 2020].

PODCASTS

DIOR. (2020) Boundary-Breaking Artist Tracey Emin On Her Very Personal Return To Painting. [podcast] DIOR TALKS – Feminist Art. Available at: http://podcasts.dior.com/tracey-emin [Accessed 3 April 2020].

VIDEO SOURCES

California College of the Arts (CCA), (2011) Lecture By Sophie Calle. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMraLWWMvNw&t=336s  [Accessed 1 April 2020].

Tate Shots. (2008) Sophie Calle – Dumped By Email. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9E4dA0EGaM  [Accessed 1 April 2020].