Tony Fiorentino with maturity and courage explores the concept of melancholy facing the heavy cultural and speculative heritage that the theme carries with itself. It’s difficult to set the activity of the artist in a well-defined category as he is simultaneously photographer, performer and sculptor and his actions come up and develop in a perfect balance of solemnity and humor. Dominium Melancholiae, however, compared to the previous productions, takes care of an artistic and philosophical tradition that goes from antiquity to the psychoanalysis, from Dürer to Lars von Trier.
With Melancholia I of Albrecht Dürer, engraving made in 1514 – perhaps the most famous modern representation of melancholy- Tony’s polished and amazing reflection begins.
The artist was inspired by the detail of the graving on the top left where a sea line is opened, overawed by the comet’s light, in which an half-submerged city arised. Tony reasons around the remote and striking hypothesis that the city in question is Venice. In the engraving, the comet comes from Saturn and Erwin Panofsky, who dealt at length with melancholy in his studies, reminds us that on Saturn depended tides and floods. The melancholic was the one who received the gift of the presage of catastrophes.
Tony’s intervention doesn’t seek to add something to the theoretical discourse but to its representative manner. Dominium Melancholiae involves art and chemistry, sculpture and performance, tradition and experimentation: through the immersion of a metal zinc sheet in distilled water mixed with lead acetate- a metal always associated with Saturn- it produces, the already known to the alchemists, Tree of Saturn, a chemical vegetation characterized by unpredictable and delicate ramifications. The color of the sculpture, contained in a glass ampoule, drifts to black: referenced to the “atrabile”, the black bile, one of the four moods of the body assumed by Hippocrates. The Greek word melancholia derives from the association of two words μέλας, “black” and χολή “bile”, “black humor”.
Dominum Melancholiae is an artistic experiment characterized by a strong conceptual value and a deep knowledge of the artistic and Western philosophical tradition: the ampoules watch over the Venetian alley, waiting for the next sea storm.