Primordial Silence (Anatomy of Melancholy) - PhMuseum

Primordial Silence (Anatomy of Melancholy)

Søren Lilholt

2014 - Ongoing

Denmark; Norway; Germany; Switzerland; Japan

The title of this project refers to Robert Burtons comprehensive book Anatomy of Melancholy from 1621, and to the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s notion of the term Primordial Silence.

Burtons book can be regarded as a theological, philosophical, lyrical, scientific and historical attempt at discerning the fabric of the world through the lens of melancholia. According to ancient alchymism and medicine, the melancholic temperament is induced by an excess production of black bile in the spleen which is intricately connected to the element of earth and stone, saturn, the color purple and regarded as cold and dry, while important for the strength of bones, teeth and wound granulation. The melancholic is withdrawn, moody, reserved, creative and quiet.

In the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty the Primordial Silence designates the origin of creativity - that fabric of nothingness that paradoxically creates everything because every new expression in the world stems from it - the silence before expression - the silence out of which it manifests in the world. Many artists have described themselves as melancholic and melancholia as a reclusive state of mind in which they quietly wait for artistic creativity to sound out of the deepest silence - a divine spark in the imagination - a glimpse of the invisible entanglement of things, places, bodies, light, sounds, smells, words...

This project springs from my own search for this silent “fabric of the world” while drawing inspiration from art historical images (e.g. the famous woodcut "Melancholia I" by the German renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer, who was convinced he suffered from melancholia, and even made a drawing of himself for his doctor, in which he points to his spleen as the source of his ailment) and elements of ancient understandings of melancholia and its meaning. A search for the connectedness of things in their apparent disconnectedness.

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  • Untitled (spectrum)

  • Untitled (kis)

  • Untitled (réversibilité)

  • Untitled (red)

  • Untitled (deflagration)

  • Untitled (fracture)

  • Untitled (denture)

  • Untitled (wound)

  • Untitled (bear)

  • Untitled (return)

  • Untitled (sacra)

  • Untitled (aluco)

  • Untitled (boulder)

  • Untitled (morphōsis racine)

  • Untitled (trapezohedron/solid)

  • Untitled (do ist mir weh)

  • Untitled (emanate #2)

  • Untitled (wound #2)

  • Untitled (atla)

  • Untitled (spectrum #2)


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