Jennifer Lee: Anorexia Nervosa: A Medical Dossier

My body of work focuses on dissecting my painful past experiences as a way of creating vulnerable work to establish an intimate connection with the viewer. I explore aspects of my anorexia, anxiety, depression, isolation, to document a time plagued with these mental illnesses and move forward, creating a voice to destigmatize mental illness. By scrutinizing my own experiences, I produce works surrounding the theme of transformation and growth, in an attempt to finally put an end to this chapter in my life, as well as speak out for these issues. In creating these interactive works, I attempt to put the audience in my shoes and the shoes of many others suffering in silence.

My goal as an interdisciplinary artist is to explore the power of art therapy and share my raw and vulnerable memories in order to form that connection with the viewer otherwise alienated from the work. I am motivated by creative ideas effecting positive change and challenging the world we live in.

"Anorexia Nervosa: A Medical Dossier" is a graphic novel-medical dossier containing 20 pages exploring my experiences being hospitalized for anorexia nervosa in 2015. As a medical file/dossier, the audience is invited to flip through (virtually) the pages, rearrange the order, and read the narrative in their way of choosing. The contrasting registers also speak to the shift between adolescence and adulthood, through the blend of journal/diary and the medical discourses that we internalize over time. The installation views of the work extends the organizational principles and layering within each page up to the level of the object, inviting exploration of the tactile dimension more directly, allowing a measure of freedom from the routines described in, and by, the individual documents. Encountering it online doesn’t diminish that, but adds another layer to it, imagining it as a physical object circulating in the world, echoing the multiple, overlapping tensions/dualities within the narrative, particularly those of confinement and constraint.