Books / Arnolfini Arts

Bristol artist releases book that can only be read when warmed by human touch

By will charley, Wednesday Jul 24, 2019

A new book has been published, full of love letters and with pages that are black and unreadable unless warmed.

Requiring the warmth of the human touch, local artist Yiota Demetriou’s book is a metaphor for relationships and the insecurity that comes with love and grief.

Being launched at the Arnolfini Bookshop on Thursday, August 1, To You is a collectors item, with only 150 being made.

To You is sensitive to the human touch

Each copy of To You comes in a hand-packed letterbox with a “how to care for me” note, a signature of authenticity from Yiota and a message urging the reader to make themselves a hot drink.

The book is comprised of  love letters based on ones Yiota once wrote to a partner and never sent. The letters, written in prose, discuss the emotions of human relationships, from grief and sorrow to love and affection.

Artist and author Yiota began writing in 2015 and 2016, through a period of depression, grief and loss. She hopes that the book is seen as much as a live entity as humans, responding to touch and only revealing secrets when warmed by human hands.

When a page is revealed, some of words appear large, while others shrink in size. A few words are simply missing, a reflection of some individuals inability to express what they feel.

The Bristol-based artist will launch the book at the Arnolfini in August 2019

In To You, Yiota, who is British-Cypriot, uses the Greek word apogymomenoto to express what she hopes the book conveys. She translates, saying it means “vulnerable emotions or experiences that are startling, raw, humiliating, naked, intimate, overtly exposed and almost unsettling in their own familiarity”.

Given the time needed to examine the book and understand its meanings as a piece of art, Yiota describes it as “an object of devotion”.

Although a labour of love in writing the letters inside, Yiota says “it is not about reading”. Instead, it is about understanding the vulnerability of human emotions.

The book launch will take place at the Arnolfini Bookshop, where copies can be purchased. To find out more, visit

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Read more: New exhibition explores gender identity through young people’s art

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