Olaf Nicolai
Mourning and Melancholia

© Courtesy of the artist / TBA21

The text Mourning and Melancholia by Sigmund Freud was written in 1915 and focuses on two fundamental psychological mechanisms in dealing with painful losses. As part of Olaf Nicolai's project for the "Jerusalem Show 2009" the first translation of this text into Arabics was made available for free to take as a self-made publication at several places in Ramallah and the surrounding area.  In addition, an audio version in the local dialect Amey’hem was broadcasted via a radio station AMWAJ Radio.

Olaf Nicolai's work was conceived against the background of the very marginal circulation of Freud’s writings in Arabic and the ongoing discussion about the relevance of psychoanalysis in the Arabic world, but equally implies questions regarding the function of translation in the context of a politics of language where the distinction between Literary Arabic and the local vernacular is virulent. Above all, however, the work aims at the question of the possibility of mutual points of reference which can be unclosed by spaces beyond antagonistic positions.

October 11–21, 2009
The Jerusalem Show
The project was realized in the context of the 3rd Riwaq Biennial (2009) in co-production with the Al-Ma’mal Foundation and the "Jerusalem Show 2009: the Jerusalem syndorme,” curated by Nina Möntmann and Jack Persekian.
Supported by the Goethe-Institut Ramallah and produced in collaboration with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary.