Mélaina Cholé, from Ancient Greek μέλας (melas), and χολή (kholé), is a photographic exploration of humoral theory conceived by Hippocrates. This theory explained physical and psychological health or illness in terms of the state of balance or imbalance of various bodily fluids. According to Hippocrates (5th century bce), health was a function of the proper balance of four humors: blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm. Volk, in particular, focuses on black bile, described as a cold and dry fluid, generated by the archetype of the earth.
We find images of the planet earth seen from space, of human body cells, and of people’s faces following the theory of physiognomy of the time. Humoral theory provided psychology with its earliest personality typology, and Hippocrates’ ideas prevailed well into the 17th century. Extensive traces of this hegemony survive in modern language: the heart was indicated as the seat of feelings and in particular of love which, poetically, is “breath of life”; Melancholia is a feeling of sadness but also a serious form of depression.
The same depression that, according to recent studies, will be the most widespread disease in the world in 2030.
Cristiano Volk is an Italian photographer who lives and works in a small town called Staranzano in northeastern Italy.
After a short period of study at the Spazio Labo’ in Bologna, he worked with artists such as Massimo Mastrorillo at the D.O.O.R Academy and Federico Clavarino.
His works have a critical view of social, political and cultural issues. Various interests are involved in his works such as tourism in Venice within the Sinking Stone project, the major depressive disorder in Mélaina Cholé and the connotations of consumers and money in Laissez-faire.
The purpose of his work is deeply political, since it is rooted in the need to explore the way humans relate to the spaces (both cultural and geographic) in which they live. Sinking Stone was awarded the Slideluck Jason Fulford Award Gazebook in 2017. In 2018, it was shortlisted for the FUAM Dummy Book Award and the SELF PUBLISH RIGA Dummy Contest.
In April 2019 his first book Sinking Stone was published by Witty Books and, at the end of the same year, it was selected by the American Suburb X magazine among the best photographic books of 2019. The following year his second book Mélaina Cholé was published by the American publishing house Yoffy press. Since 2020 he has been represented by the London based agency Millennium Images. He was recently awarded the FRESH EYES 2020 powered by GUP Magazine. FRESH EYES presents the 100 best emerging photographers of the year. In June 2020 he was selected among the finalists of the COMBAT prize.