Kenyon College

Jorinde Voigt – Codification of Intimacy


Paradoxien (Paradoxes), a thematic highpoint of Voigt’s series Codification of Intimacy, embraces the contradictions inherent in attempting to describe passionate love as something predetermined by social systems. The series is inspired by the writings of German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, whose seminal 1982 text Love as Passion aimed to theorize love not as an abstract emotion, but as a social code that emerged historically through the implementation of rational thought and organization. Luhmann argued that amorous feelings are not naturally generated within the individual, but rather emerge from expected behaviors in response to marital life.

Voigt communicates the conflict that arises between notions of passionate and codified love by juxtaposing organic, vaguely humanoid forms with precise mechanical structures and notations, exemplified best in Paradoxien. Simultaneously the large yellow form that dominates Paradoxien represents the natural and the artificial; its curvilinear shapes evoke a single-celled amoeba or a fantastical machine beyond the grasp of human invention. With Paradoxien, Voigt reaches a compromise: love is both a societal construct, devoid of sincere human sentiment, and an intangible, ethereal experience.  

Rose Bishop `17