Melancholia, 2013, single channel digital video, 7mins 54secs
Melancholia is a video work that finds its starting point with the Platonic solid designed by Albrecht Dürer. This three-dimensional shape is an important part of the complex layered motifs of his 1506 print, also named Melancholia.
The two films that play themselves out side by side look at this self same shape, constructed and deconstructed in parallel, suggesting that melancholy, one of the medieval humours(a stereotypical state of mind often associate with artists), here given form in this symbolic shape, is a knowable quantity that can be better lived with when simply recognised.
On one side an almost comedic foot bears down upon a fragile card model of the solid, filmed at a thousand frames a second. The fragility and destruction unfold at an achingly slow pace. Opposite this, the juddering needle of a tattoo artist recreates the same motif in indelible marks punched into the skin. There is something visceral and even robust about the process of application. The way it has been filmed as a series of long shots, is like staring at something horrific that you can’t take your eyes away from. And yet what we are watching is a form of adornment.
In a recent article about the young Dürer, Christopher S. Wood described the biographical element of Dürer’s work as displaying ‘a tension between, on the one hand, sensory perception as the inescapable framework of existence and, on the other, the supraindividual ideal furnished by mathematics.’
One might hope that this video work continues this timeless binary of artistic investigation abstracted from personal experience. ”
Melancholia Solid, 2012, solid polished bronze (edition of six)
There Is Where It Hurts, digital photograph, 2013
still from Melancholia, 2013
Note about the music, composed generated by Jake Williams:
The music for this film is entirely from a recording of Sam Sherry singing the aria “Casta Diva”, from Bellini’s opera ‘Norma’ (2001). The drones through the first half of the piece are made from sampling single-cycle waveforms from the recording, compiling them into on large file and playing it back in a sampler instrument – slowly modulating the loop start point to create a pseudo-wavetable synthesiser. The pad sounds towards the end are made using slightly larger samples, creating a more granular process in the sampler.