Melancholy is a fascinating subject that is complex, contradictory and ambiguous. Sarah's intent is not to define melancholy, only to visually convey the many facets and concepts that are associated with its nature and present the melancholic references found in text. The written word is suggestive but does not give full possession of meaning as it spreads across the walls and with the added contrast of darkness and our own shadows which intentionally obscure the work. Melancholy is indefinable, even infinite; it is a universal and elusive state of mind. Ambiguous and full of intricate nuances and complexities this installation throws this notion into a more physical and performative expression.
Within the dark room, she invites her audience to enter and experience the uncertainty of melancholy, through the use of space and light, to manifest itself entirely into our ‘state of being’ if even for a moment. In solitude the senses are stimulated; creating an near oppressive yet quiet atmosphere, which is evocative, reflective and enveloping, bringing self-awareness and leaving a lasting impression. Rather than merely being the observer each individual become an essential part of the work.
The intended experience within this enclosing dark space is Sarah's own interpretation of melancholy and its recorded connections; the use of language and visual mapping on the walls along side the surrounding dark reflects the concept of ‘Camera Obscuras’. This concept literally means the ‘dark room’ and the combination of light, dark and shadows aims to create a mental stimulus and a physical sensation. The installation compliments the contemplation; it is designed to remove the observer from the ordinary in order to touch the individual directly.
By entering into this situation, we ourselves become the objects of obscurity. The space between audience and wall once closed in order to see, the shadow then block our perception becoming restrictive and confrontational. Lingering narrative and symbolic suggestive forms of recognition, relations and connections are used to help initiate the melancholic mindset.
“ Dark space envelops me on all sides and penetrates me much deeper than light space, the distinction between inside and outside and consequently the sense organs as well, insofar as they are designed for external perception, here play only a totally modest role.” Eugene Minkowski