BLACK BILE / GROUP EXHIBITION / SMALL GALLERY, CENTRE FOR CREATIVE ACTIVITIES
3.10.2019 / 6 p.m.
Centre for Creative Activities / ul. Gen. Zaruskiego 1a / Ustka
4.10.2019 – 15.01.2020
Small Gallery /ul. Partyzantów 31a / Słupsk
Centre for Creative Activities /ul. Gen. Zaruskiego 1a / Ustka
The origins of reflection on melancholy can be traced back to antiquity. Ancient Greeks claimed that “black bile” predisposes man to contemplation, while sadness stimulates reflection and philosophy. This view was best exemplified in the Renaissance period by the famous engraving Melencolia by Albrecht Dürer. In Medieval Europe, melancholy was attributed to acedia, sadness and loss of faith, and therefore regarded as a “disease of the soul” brought about by spirits and demons and consequently subject to exorcism. This belief was adhered to for several centuries. In fact, modern medical research began only during the French Revolution and the following few decades. One of the prominent scientists who conducted extensive research on character features of a melancholic was Jean-Marie Charcot, a neuropathologist and director of the female psychiatric clinic in Salpêtrière. Charcot’s research on melancholy, in both theoretical and medical areas, was continued by his famous follower Sigmund Freud. In his article Mourning and Melancholia, the Viennese psychoanalyst described the loss of internal representation in a patient’s psyche which he believed was the result of inadequate mourning. Freud repeatedly stressed the importance of mourning, which, as he postulated, leads to the reintegration of “the mourner’s self and reconciliation with the altered shape of the world.” As a result of active mourning “the self once again becomes free and unhampered.” This theme was later addressed by Julia Kristeva in her book Black Sun. Melancholy, and then also by Judith Butler. The American philosopher points out that “insofar as the grief remains unspeakable, the rage over the loss can redouble by virtue of remaining unavowed.” In this light, the “avowal” appears to be the causative agent of all therapy and reintegration. If an individual manages to express their sadness, to name and define it, to perform its symbolic sublimation, then they experience a crucial moment of transformation which is, in fact, underpinned by the creative value of melancholy. The exhibition Black Bile is an attempt to describe melancholy as a phenomenon that, once properly expressed, can open an individual to the world, enrich their language of expression and broaden the spectrum of existential experiences. Similarly to literature, visual arts play an important part in the reconstruction of human subjectivity and as pointed out by Julia Kristeva, are an “adventure of body and signs”.
The Marshal of the province of Pomerania Mieczysław Struk
The Mayor of the City of Słupsk Krystyna Danilecka-Wojewódzka
The Mayor of the Town of Ustka Jacek Graczyk