Untying the Knot is a comprehensive two-part research project that explores the history and contemporary status of marriage. This universal yet deeply personal institution has been around for centuries and exists in all parts of the world. What began as a simple union to assure legitimate lineage and property transfer has now become a powerful symbol of love and commitment, despite the fact that divorce rates are increasingly common. Untying the Knot asks us to question why this institution persists and what it means in our society today.
The first part investigates the history of marriage through the writings of Stephanie Coontz—a historian of the American family, focusing on the white, heteronormative, and Euro-American perspectives. Untying the Knot draws inspiration from manuscripts, encyclopedias, and the visual language of domestic life, including the art of crochet—one of the few socially acceptable art forms for women. It serves as a powerful symbol of the gendered nature of domestic life.
The second part explores the complexities of marriage in contemporary society. This section features a series of interviews with a diverse range of individuals. As the project evolved, it became clear that marriage remains a lasting institution that holds a significant place in our collective aspirations.
To complement the book, I created a collection of posters, lasered and intricately crocheted onto delicate paper, that encapsulates quotes from the interviews, ultimately encouraging us to reflect on the unrealistic ideals we often hold and the inherent challenges that come with lifelong partnerships.