A Biography of Daphne at ACCA

Sat 26th June, 2021 – Sun 5th September, 2021
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
111 Sturt Street, Southbank, VIC, 3006
The exhibition explores trauma and metamorphosis through the prism of Daphne, a nymph who became a tree to evade the assault of Apollo.

Artists have thoroughly explored the myth of Daphne since the Roman poet Ovid composed the first written account in his 8CE magnum opus, The Metamorphoses. Italian renaissance painters, baroque sculptors and even the Flemish artist Rubens have all contributed to the evolving visual dialogue.

But a lot of time has passed since the ancient Greeks constructed their mythology, and many modern artists have found new meanings in the myth as our understanding of the world, and ourselves, changes.

For A Biography of Daphne at ACCA (Australian Centre for Contemporary Art), guest curator Mihnea Mircan brings together both newly commissioned and existing works by 25 local and international artists – including artist-turned-film director Steve McQueen – for a contemporary interpretation.

In Greek mythology, Daphne was a nymph who turned into a tree to escape the relentless assault of the god Apollo. From one perspective, she’s a symbol of resistance and transformation. But, importantly, the exhibition addresses the sexual violence that triggered Daphne’s metamorphosis, and highlights the enduring misogyny and aggressions towards women that persist to this day.

A Biography of Daphne explores the paradoxes of brutality and emancipation, subjection and agency, power and refusal, self and place, in reference to the body, its becoming, and the limits and potentials of multi-species alliances.

More information here.

This story was produced by Broadsheet in partnership with ACCA.