November 26, 2018
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This post was contributed to The Thrill by studio art major Sophie Yolowitz ’14. If you were wondering why 25 women around campus were wearing clothing with writing on it last Thursday, here’s your answer.
For my senior exhibition in the Gund Gallery, I constructed an installation of a girl’s bedroom in which everything, the bedding, clothes, belongings, wallpaper and carpet, was embroidered with text. This text was composed of short phrases that encapsulate a thought or feeling I’ve had, or something that has been said to me or overheard. With this, I hoped to open a discussion about our internal versus our external selves, what we think about versus what we actually choose to say and reveal to the world.
Especially as of late, I find it incredibly powerful, though often quite terrifying, to invite people into my life and see if I can relate to them in my experiences, thoughts and emotions. Being so open and vulnerable has been incredibly rewarding. Upon seeing my work, a number of girls approached me and expressed that they really understood what I was going through, and that it was very comforting for them to see some of their own thoughts reflected in my installation. This, I think, is the purpose of art, to remind each other that we are not alone.
Yes, my bedroom was filled with my own personal thoughts and feelings, but it was intended to bring light to the fact that we all have these running dialogues in our head, we all have inner battles that are kept quiet and out of view. I think this aspect of the work was reflected in the response I received from so many.
To complete this project, I felt it was necessary to give some more of these thoughts, and not only my own, a chance to be seen. I asked a number of girls who had responded to my work to give me a piece of their own clothing, a line of their thoughts, and the bravery to wear their heart on their sleeve for one day. On Thursday, April 24, 25 girls, in addition to myself, wore a piece of clothing, or a pair of shoes, that was embroidered with something internal, private words that they were accustomed to keep hidden. In opening themselves up, these girls made way for us to connect to one another, for people to realize the normality of thoughts that sound crazy in our heads. I truly believe that we’re all secretly freaking out, and it’s time we admit to it.
These 25 pieces of clothing will be exhibited in the final senior art show on May 2 in Horvitz Hall, along with an audio recording of a few of these girls discussing the experience of wearing their thoughts in public.