Algunos textos y obras en torno a Melencolia I de Albrecht Dürer

Michel Tournier, Melencolia I

Alberto Giacometti, Le Cube, fotografía de su versión original en yeso, de 1933.

Anselm Kiefer ha usado el poliedro en diversas obras tanto en dibujo como en una estructura de fierro y vidrio (con desechos en su interior) . En esta búsqueda se pueden encontrar obras de varias épocas.

Robert Morris, Blind Time IV (Melencholia), 1999, una de varias versiones.

Robert Morris, Melencolia II (con Claudio Parmiggiani)

Robert Morris, un e-mail escrito a Nena Tsouti-Schillinger, citado en este texto, y luego publicado en Robert Morris, Have I reasons, works and writings, 1993-2007, Duke University Press, Durham, 2008, págs. 167-169.

Maybe the angel in Dürer’s print is blind. Maybe the angel could feel around the landscape for the polyhedron, the sphere, the mill wheel, the bell. But what would the angel learn? Vision is not the issue in this image, it seems to me. Anyway not literal seeing. The angel stares off into space. Unseeing or blind. Maybe the angel is thinking. But we would not know what such thoughts are about. We humans are, according to Chomsky, somewhere on a scale between rats and angels. A rat could not solve a maze requiring the application of prime numbers. So why should we have answers to questions about the self, the mind/body relation, consciousness, a priori knowledge, etc.? And would we really want to know what the angel knows about these things? We should be satisfied with our blindness about such questions. But of course we are not. Anymore than the angel is satisfied with not having answers to those unimaginable questions angels ask. The angel's is a superior brand of blindness. Melancholia is the condition of mourning for answers that don't arrive – on whatever level the questions might be asked. Let the relations between disc, polyhedron and sphere stand as allegory for relations between sets of questions without answers – whatever level these might exist on. Off in the distance a bat holds the scrolled inscription "Melencolia" – thought flying blind, mocking the angel who sits immobile, the tools surrounding him/her (I don't think this angel has a sex, or is both) abandoned. We are witnessing a scene of great restraint: the angel sits passively and blind. Universes might collapse in fiery implosion should the angel lose its patience and actually act. Wouldn't we like to think. Wouldn't we like to think the massive physique beneath that robe was a metaphor for potentiality. But look again. Dürer went deeper. There is only mockery here. Mockery of the great Other. Or rather mockery of our impulse to extend authority to the Other. Mockery of our incorrigible compulsion to first dream up the other and then endow him with power. Dürer mocks transcendence itself in theimage of this hulking incompetent sitting passively, surrounded by scattered tools he doesn't know how to use, staring blindly into space. This strapping angel can make sense of nothing, make use of nothing, get off his butt and do anything. The dividers, the balance, the hourglass, the carpentry tools, the ladder, the nails – these will wait for all eternity for this brainless ox of an angel to act. The image is subversive in the extreme. Melancholia is the condition of never learning, of being taken in by our own inflated hopes. Melancholia is the condition of expectation. Melancholia is the bet placed on the long shot. Of course the most melancholy condition imaginable would be no more horse races, no more making fun of angels.
On the drawings I always started with the sphere, the polyhedron and the disc. I traveled from one to the other in my blindness, learning nothing. I am always reduced in the B[lind] T[ime] drawings to my lowest levels. Groping and pathetic, absent the illusions of sight. Fragmented and spastic, absent the illusions of wholeness. Subhuman, beneath the angel's suffocating skirt. And freed into a chthonic realm where it is easy to hold my breath. Freed to act outside of expectations set for the enterprise by others. Freed to feel for my darker lump of being.
White marble and bamboo and the steep ravine. A dim but visible scene. The bell is reassuring, and it makes a bell-like sound. The anxiety between the five objects is mild. And the available names reassure. Maybe a certain smug nominalism prevails, but there are no dark lumps lying around. I can still hear the echo of the conversation with Parmiggiani. The suffocation of blindness does not threaten. No bat flits through the bamboo with inaudible screams of warning. It is of course possible that Kesselring walked the ravine 60 years ago with dried blood on his boots. We know he was in the area and we know what he did. But "Melencolia II" commemorates no past atrocity. Nor does it mark any site of angelic blindness. The angel has long ago taken leave of the site with a smirk. And that's a relief. There is air here and a certain filtered light and the earth is soft underfoot. It is quiet and contemplative. There are no inhuman demands placed upon us here. That sudden drop of soft, heavy blindness, that suffocating weight of the angel's skirt falling over our breathing does not threaten here. Neither threat nor mockery presides at this site because we have banished that overbearing lout of an angel.