Olaf Nicolai: Trauer und Melancholie (Mourning and Melancholia)

Olaf Nicolai's work "Trauer und Melancholie" (Mourning and Melancholia) was presented in the Sigmund Freud Museum's "Library of Psychoanalysis" on the 82nd anniversary of Sigmund Freud's death. With his artistic documentation (2009/12), Nicolai made possible the first translation of Freud's eponymous writing from German into Arabic. In addition to the presentation of the publications (de/en), his concept also includes the presentation of the text as a radio play, which was produced by the radio station Amwaj 91.5 FM in 2009 and broadcast as a reading lasting several hours as part of the Ramallah Biennial.

As an integral part of the installation, film recordings of the preparatory conversation between the radio speaker and the translator Mohammad Abu-Zaid convey the complexity of this undertaking, which is due not least to the differences between the respective (language) cultures. Thus, the artistic translation performance not only "speaks" insights into various states of mourning in the literal sense, but above all places interpersonal dialogue at the center of consideration - that is, the procedure that is just as inscribed in psychoanalysis as it is in humanitarian attempts to clarify and resolve the Middle East conflict.

The work is accessible upon request.

Made possible by the Society of Friends of the Fine Arts.


Erm√∂glicht durch die Gesellschaft der Freunde der bildenden K√ľnste.