Melancholia. A Sebald Variation

This exhibition runs from Thu, 21st Sep 2017 to Fri, 10th Nov 2017. See all dates

This event runs over several days/weeks. Dates include:

This exhibition has finished.

Cost: Free of Charge

Melancholia. A Sebald Variation, presented by Kings College London, takes the writings of W.G. Sebald (1944-2001) as a starting point for an exploration of melancholia in European art and culture. Curated by John-Paul Stonard and Lara Feigel, the exhibition opens this autumn at the Inigo Rooms at Somerset House East Wing.

Inspired in particular by Sebald’s 1997 publication On The Natural History of Destruction – 20 years old this year – Melancholia sees works by international contemporary artists set alongside images documenting the destruction of Germany in the Second World War, as well as W.G. Sebald’s own manuscripts and peculiar photography collection. Tracing the theme back to the roots of European cultural identity, it opens with an impression of Albrecht Dürer's famous print Melencolia I (1514), on loan from the British Museum.

Highlights include:

Never before exhibited photographs by Anselm Kiefer, made in the 1980s, depicting aircraft constructed out of sheets of lead taken from the roof of Cologne cathedral

Tacita Dean’s Our Europe and I had a Father - new works on slate specially commissioned for the exhibition

Guido van der Werve’s award-winning endurance-art film project Nummer Vierteen: Home, 2012

Eye-witness drawings by Wilhelm Rudolph of the smouldering ruins of Dresden, both shown in Britain for the first time

A video of an interview between W.G. Sebald and Susan Sontag

The exhibition aims to provoke reflection about the European condition and about the nature of melancholy. Is it, as Freud thought, an indulgent, unproductive form of mourning? Or can it be a form of sadness that is ultimately uplifting for the consciousness it brings of life and its more startling possibilities?

Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

No need to book tickets - just turn up on the day.


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Somerset House East Wing,

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