Simon van der Sluijs

4 – 29 May 2019

The title of this trilogy of exhibitions is taken from a book published in 1621 in Britain by Robert Burton. Although presented as a medical textbook, the book is much more than that; it is a work of literature of its own kind, and a philosophical reflection on the state of being melancholic. Burton defines melancholy as follows: …Melancholy is either in nature or in habit. In nature, it is that transitory melancholy which goes and comes upon every small occasion of sorrow, need, sickness, trouble, fear, grief, passion, or distress of the mind, any manner of care, discontent, or thought, which causes anguish, dulness, heaviness and aggravation of spirit, any ways opposite to pleasure, happiness, joy, delight, causing forwardness in us, or a dislike…

 I chose ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ as the title for the trilogy because I feel that it best represents my work and the person I am. 

 *Melancholy: a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause.

About Part II: Dissectum

 Dissectum means ‘deeply cut’ and in its original meaning refers to the deep cuts in foliage. For me the deep cuts are not just the ones we need to make to understand the workings of an organism but also the potential deep cuts we need to consider when we have to make big decisions (as in: ‘Murderous Intent’). To be deeply cut can also be the result of our experiences in life. And with deep cuts comes the need to heal, to find ways to put what is left back together again or to form a ‘new’. (see the works: Figure 1&2, Figure 3 and Figure 4)

 The exhibition is in two parts – the front of the gallery is ‘The Wunderkammer*’ where various objects, boxes and other curios are shown.

(Wunderkammer*: A cabinet of scientific curiosities, especially during the Renaissance)

In the back of the gallery I’m exhibiting a series of mainly charcoal drawings, all working with or referring to ‘Dissectum’,  plus four small bird paintings embellished with embroidery.

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