Collection: Unit 7



Kind of blue an essay on melancholia and depression. Mark Kidel

  • The documentary is built as an essay exploring the concept of melancholia through time and history, It was created in 1992 by Mark Kidel. The interesting angle chooses to portray melancholia as a state of being, a mind of spleen rather than treat melancholia as a pathological depression. Its often seen this way because of Freud interpretation of melancholia as another word for "depression". However fundamently I agree with the essay representing melancholia as a subtle form of sadness. a interwinded pessimism where happiness always is teinted by sadness.
  • By developping melancholia through the archetype of the tourmented artist, it induces melancholia with an aray of sublime anc grace. By opposition to a brutal, violent devouring form of sadness that can be achieved by self harming physically or mentally. Melancholia is softer, its a constant vision of the world, the etheral stability of a sad mind, a still contemplation. . This statement was introduced by philosopher James Hilman he speculates "that if you're not depressed, you're abnormal -- because the soul knows about the trees that are destroyed, the ugliness that is spreading, the chaos of the culture in many ways..... And somehow if you're not in mourning for what's going on in the world, you're cut off from the soul of the world. In that sense I would think an underlying depression is a kind of adaptation to the reality of the world. Therefore melancholia joins 'Pataphisycal as an interpretation of the world we live in. In a form of inbetween state in wich rather than excluding reality from life a acceptation of mortality has been reached by contemplating in an awareness of death every moments of existence.
  • Moreover melancholia is indeed strongly attached to symbolism . In artistic representations, Melancholy was always depicted as a woman a muse or an allegory both representing despair and aesthetic beauty closely related to the nymphea in the lungs of Chloé In Boris Vian book. Melancholia before refered to as Spleen. was long Symbolized by the celestial prescence of Saturn,  dismal, infernal star subject of contemplation and fascination. "the star of the slowest revolution, the planet of detours and delays" as stated by Walter Benjamin. 
  • I should consider the symbolism of  melancholia for my project aswell as research Verlaines "Poèmes saturniens".

To the ligthouse Virginia Woolf


Source : To the lighthouse Virginia Woolf

  • The novel is set in the Ramsays' summer home in the Hebrides, on the Isle of Skye. The section begins with Mrs Ramsay assuring her son James that they should be able to visit the lighthouse on the next day. This prediction is denied by Mr Ramsay, who voices his certainty that the weather will not be clear. The whole story is centered around the visit to the light house being aborted before the familly is able to get there. The lighthouse keeps us from getting lost, saves us when we are lost, and prevents us from losing sight of land, it is a symbol of security of shelter and warmth that rescues us from the potential dangers of the night. This idea of an unreachable lighthouse relates to melancholia in the sense that it is a constant desire yet one that is impossible to fufill like in melancholia where sadness is not seen as a violent and hasardous occurance but rather as a constant state of mind a sadness that is an underlying deeper feeling. I want to do more research on possible explanation of melancholia and challenge how it is related to desire and mourning. 
  • I think using the symbol of the lighthouse in my project could be very interesting as it represents safety and comfort what the melancholic mind desperately seek for but cant ever reach. 
  • Moreover, the story is set on the sea side of the island of Skye wich could be relevant to my story as the character is drouwnig. She could be drowning in the ocean near the island of Skye. I thought it was coincidental that a story of melancholia woudl be set in the Island of Skye, the island I am named after, it could offer an intersting paradoxe, as the character is a projection of myself in my project, it is logical to then question wether the character is metaphorically drowning in his own mind (the ocean of the island of Skye) or physically drowning. I want to do more research on the landscape of the Island of Skye as it would be a relevant and melancholic scenery for my story. 



Empire of light Magritte 1949

  • This painting by Magritte is closely linked with Virginia Woolf obssession with the figure of the lighthouse however it is seen as a pessimistic symbol given Magritte's history. The houses are dark and empty they explode into light in the middle of the day however the variations are oxymoric since they depict the dark silhouettes of these houses in a deserted night with only lamplight, the "Dominion of light" is paradoxaly obscure and cold. 
  • This paradoxe is only understood if we look closely at the personal psychological context the paintings were created into,  as I found out in a book called, "Cultures of the death drive, Mélanie Klein and modernist melancholia", Magritte's mother died drowning, her night dress was found on her face several of his paintings evoke death by water or concealed faces. In this painting in particular, Regina Magritte abscence was noticed and the search for her begun in the middle of the night, The "Empire of light" evokes that moment of terror and uncertainty and the premonition of death. 
  • It could be interesting to use the ideas of concealed faces and death by water in fashion design as my concept is closely linked to drowning.

L'écume des jours Boris Vian


Source : Boris Vian "L'écume des jours"

  • This novel by Boris Vian explores the theme of melancholia through the imagery of a water lily that grows in the lung of one of the character. There is no precise time line for the story but we know its happening arounds the 1950's in "La rive gauche de Saint Germain des prés" in Paris however the story is not entirely loyal to reality, 'pataphysical pheanomenon are happening in the daily life of the characters. The book develops  the story of Colin a man who lives in a house with his chef Nicolas and little mouses that he talk with along with a pianocktail, a fabulous invention of his a piano that makes cocktails. Driven by the desire to be in love, he maries Chloé a young woman he just met. However Chloé starts being ill just after her wedding, a water lily is growing in one of her lung. The story shifts at that moment and Colin only goal is now to buy flowers to heal his wife. The universe of the story becomes bleaker and bleaker as Colin has to work and sell the pianocktail to pay for the flowers. Chloé finally dies from her illness at the end of the story.
  • The story can be seen as a experiment on 'pataphysical a conception of the world as part real and part imaginary every thing is on the same level. I personally view this as an aim to stay halfway in the innocence of childhood and halfway in the real world. However the message of the book is that wanting to live in that inbetween between reality and imagination is not possible because death and its fear is to real to be 'pataphysical. Therefore the idea of the water lily growing in Chloé's lung can be seen as a metaphore of melancholia, the brutal dive into reality of two childs that so far only lived in an imaginary world.
  • I think the imagery of the water lily can be interesting to symbolize melancholia as it encompasses both the tragedy of depression and drowning through the word "water" as well as the aesthetically pleasing vision of a flower.
  • Moreover, 'pataphysical, the interuption of imaginary into reality could be an interesting maner to represent the interaction between the memories of my character drownig and what she sees around her in the ocean when she drowns.

Japanese Bridge, Claude Monet 1899

  • The painting represents the water lily pond in the garden of Giverny where Monet lived. It displays impressionist techniques and exploration of light representation through the eyes of the artist. Almost ressembling pointillism, the water and the flower are confounded in a form of blurryness like a fog of water and flower instead of grey. The blurryness is interesting as it is a way to portray visually the frailty of memory and touch of melancholia in artistic representations
  • The nympheas or water lily or also extremely present in the painting covering the entirety of the pound, it suggests a sea of melancholia and the present idea of drowning in flowers. combinig both the violence and brutality of death with a form of aesthetically pleasing beauty.
  • I would like to use the techniques of pointillism in knitwear to represent melancholia texturally maybe I could use pattern plates or intarsia knitting ?

Bill Viola Tristan and Isolde

  • I liked how washed the work appears like if something almost blurred all the colours out to make it less discernible more abstract yet showing the Impression of what the painting is evoking.
  • I like the use of colours and the echo of the different tones juxtaposed playing with saturation and fading to maintain a harmony in the profusion.
  • intersting to use the idea of colours dripping, washed to express the fragility and disorder of memory 
  • How the artist expresses her work as a reflective and meditative time almost like a form of introspection of her emotions in her paintings its not really controlled and I think that would be an interesting technique to try out and let go a bit of the very illustrative work and focus on impressions of feelings as my work is related to that topic
  • the blurry juxtaposition of colours and tones could be very interesting to create knit samples to represent the blurriness of what sees my character when she is drowning.
  • The artist transforms resin and steel into human forms that are hauntingly real and somewhat dealing an invisible personal struggle.
  • The human sculptures were purposely made by Park to look unfinished and hollow “to describe the condition of emptiness.”
  • using the idea of making samples or drawings that are looking unfinished could be very interesting to portray the emptyness left in melancholia and the holes in your memories.

Garden of melancholia Christian Shloe

  • the symbolism of birds in melancholia taking the place of the person. oblirating self with a form ideal, the bird by flying can access other arrays of creative realm, It can represent the idea of wanting to get out of your own body to escape your own life.
  • Using surrealism seems significant as it question what we are really seeing it seems absurd but also metaphorically symbolising deeper buried feelings that are difficult to express with words.
  • I could include more surrealist representation in my own work as a way to expend the visuals and experiment with the absurd, maybe by contrasting very different materials in my samples...

The beginning Christian Schloe

  • If you read that painting in relation with a garden of melancholia by the same artist it suggest that the birds represent anxieties and troubles in life trying to get in the younger person brain. When the first painting shows letting your problems out by literally removing your face, it shows here the occurrence of those issues before they become damaging. 
  • I like the idea of having a recurring symbol that keep evolving and changing context and narrative to bring a totally different lecture of it. It could be interesting to build a pattern a symbol that repeats in my separate novellas who each bring a different understanding of the occurrence of melancholia. 

George Seurat, The master of pointillism


Coastal Scene about 1892, Théo van Rysselberghe