Paper Cut: relief

By Heather Weston
London, England: Heather Weston, 2007. Edition of 150.

3 x 5.25"; 8 pages. Accordion structure bound into boards at end pages. Offset lithography on paper. Die cutting. Blind emboss title on front board. Bound in red book cloth on board enclosed by a white banderole with title.

Once again, Weston transforms a complex psychological issue into the palpable reality of an artists' book. The subject is dark — self-harm — the experience is untidy and frustrating — as it should be. But if you have the patience, curiosity, and daring to see the experience through to the end — that is, to read the narrative — there is an uneasy sense of accomplishment, even hope.

Heather Weston: "This book explores the complex subject of self-harm. Taking an issue that is both visually alarming and psychologically puzzling, the book engages with the experience of the powerless onlooker, as well as [with] the narrative of the self-harmer. Self-harm is often the result of extreme and chronic emotional isolation and is an increasingly common coping mechanism amongst young people, as a way of dealing with extremes of emotion. It involves a complex translation of emotional pain into its more tolerable physical equivalent. At the heart of the issue is a story that is felt to be intolerable but untellable. The pun in the title is a very serious one — the cut, ironically, provides the painkilling relief that is sought. The title, however, also alludes to the nature of the mark making within the book itself, which also involves the translation of emotional into physical. The book presents the cuts and scars of this translation within its pages, but leaves the solution, (the communication and thoughtful interaction that has remained so elusive), in the hands of the reader."