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Matthew Wagner


As an artist, I am fascinated by language and how it can be both a powerful tool for communication and a source of confusion for those living with dementia. Through my design work, I explore how language can be a barrier and a bridge for those experiencing cognitive decline.
Contronyms - words with multiple meanings that are opposite or contradictory - are particularly interesting to me. For someone with dementia, these kinds of words can be especially challenging, as they require cognitive flexibility and the ability to hold multiple meanings in mind simultaneously.
My design work aims to capture the disorientation and confusion that can arise when someone with dementia encounters these kinds of words. Using letterpress and typography, I create immersive environments that invite the viewer to step into the experience of cognitive decline.
At the same time, I seek to highlight the potential for language to serve as a source of connection and comfort for those living with dementia. By exploring the nuances of language, I hope to inspire greater empathy and understanding for individuals with cognitive impairments and to encourage new approaches to communication that can bridge the gap between those experiencing dementia and their loved ones.
My work explores the power and potential of language, both as a tool for connection and as a challenge to be overcome. Through my design work, I aim to shed light on the difficulties that those living with dementia face while celebrating their resilience, creativity, and humanity.

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