Publications » Grey Hope - The Persistence of Melancholy - 2006 - Northampton

Grey Hope: The Persistence of Melancholy, Atopia Projects, 2006, edited by Sigrid Sandström and Atopia Projects

Melancholy has a peculiar cultural pedigree. This lineage meanders through the humoral theories of Greek medicine—from where the word originates: melas (black) kholé (bile)—through the romanticism of Keats and continuing with Freud and Kristeva. As a contemporary notion it is somewhat adrift, and partially eclipsed by the more prosaic descriptions of psychiatric depression. And yet the sense of melancholy persists; its mellower existential reflective form is a gentle but penetrating sadness that may even be an actively sought companion. This book is an idiosyncratic compendium of texts and artists’ work that relates to an understanding of melancholy as a contributing essence to a rounded psychic landscape. It is in these instances that melancholy functions as a filter or mediator for experience; it generates a peculiar and particular related-ness to the world. It is at once deeply internal but often crucially intertwined with our relationship to landscape and nature. Grey Hope aims for melancholy to be culturally understood as an active aspect of the psyche and not an affliction requiring elevation.

Contributors: Karin Mamma Andersson, Daniel Birnbaum & Anders Olsson, Brian Dillon, Peter Doig, Lucy Gunning, Lars Gustafsson, Per Kirkeby, Jennifer Radden, Hrafnkell Sigurdsson, Richard Wright