History of Melancholia – We Are All Naive Pacifists, 2012
oil, acrylic, pencil, oil pastel and collage on paper,
123 x 84 cm.
About the work
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History of Melancholia is a series of black abstract paintings started in 2011 that explores the possibilities of pictorial creation without the usual strong presence of color. The series resorts to the use of black paint in order to reflect on collective and individual memory. Black paint is historically linked to melancholia, the black bile. However, underneath the many layers of black oil paint on the painting’s surfaces, some shades of white color emerge as if they were fireflies flashing in a dark and dense forest, the forest of memory. They are mnemonic images that emerge in the darkness of the collective and individual unconscious. But like fireflies these memories are mere vague lights, they are uncapable to illuminate the forest or being captured. Lippe adds on the surface of his gestural paintings, objects, old photos and texts (handwritten titles) and red geometric lines and forms. The geometry creates graphic structures, while cutting the informal pictorial plane and referring to utopian modern art movements at the same time it brings rigor to the paintings full of layers of memories and human traces. Images of anonymous people and unknown events as well as images of iconic past events share the same pictorial space and thus create an anthology of distinct collective memories. History of art and history of humanity are crossed by melancholia and pictorial gestures. But melancholia doens’t appear here as an immobilizing force that imprisons people in sorrow and torpor as if it was a pathology. It is a poetic potency, a structure of thought and sensibility, that can transform our way of existing in the world.