Mar 23 – May 05, 2006
Ever since antiquity, melancholy has been associated with suffering and madness, but also with creativity and genius. Its designation as “a sacred malady” already implies a duality. Works of a melancholic vein bridge contradictions and extremes: both soft and cold, distant and intimate, attractive and repulsive, intense and empty.
This show arrives after “Romantica” which was presented in Sommer Contemporary Art in 2004. This exhibition continues to explore the connection between historical themes and contemporary activity. Unlike Romanticism, the melancholic sentiment is devoid of pathos. It does not exhibit a yearning for a lost paradise or for future utopias. Melancholy does not crave the absolute but it is still nostalgic and yearning…for nostalgia itself.
The exhibition reintroduces melancholy as productive and reflective mood outside the purely negative category of depression. Melancholy is first and foremost mediation on time and on the passing of time. Unlike classical art which emphasizes the eternal and the universal, melancholy in art does not exempt the human and its creations from their inherent decay. But its emphasis on temporality opens the potential for transformation and growth. The melancholic mood is inherent to the act of creation itself and its essential bivalence of birth and destruction, life and death.
While the theme of melancholy is as old as art itself, this show explores the melancholic zeitgeist of the moment as manifested in contemporary art. Works included in the show represent some of the most significant and influential contemporary Israeli and international artists: Avner Ben Gal, Whitney Bedford, Pierre Huyghe and Phillip Parreno, Zilla Leutenegger, Ugo Rondinone, Chtistoph Ruckhäberle, Wilhelm Sasnal, and Anna Yam.