Featuring Diana Al-Hadid, Theodora Allen, Ali Banisadr, Bianca Bondi, Brendan Fernandes, Barbara Kasten, Lap-See Lam, Zoë Paul, Ana Pellicer, Naama Tsabar, and Sif Itona Westerberg.
Kasmin is pleased to present Shades of Daphne, a timely survey of painting, sculpture, installation, and film by a group of 11 international and intergenerational contemporary artists, many of whom have not previously exhibited in the United States. Bringing together recent and historical works spanning over three decades from the 1990s to the present, the exhibition includes new commissions, site-specific performances and installations that respond to the architecture of the gallery space.
Celebrating the spirit of resistance and revolt, the exhibition takes the figure of Daphne—the Ancient Greek nymph who turned herself into a laurel tree to escape Apollo’s pursuit—as metaphor to explore work that engages with hybrid figures, metamorphoses, and suspended states of becoming. Highlighting deconstructed impressions of the body in relation to mythologies of transformation, the exhibition focuses on work that features remnants of presence even when the figure is absent—objects that hold the memories of living things. Acting as portals, thresholds, and containers of shifting states, each work also engages with architecture as a framework, both in reference to the body and to spaces constructed for both personal and collective ritual.
Shades of Daphne is curated by Stephanie Cristello.
Diana Al-Hadid’s (b. 1981 Aleppo, Syria) sculpture takes the Flemish primitive painter Hans Memling’s Allegory of Chastity (c. 1475) as a starting point. The work pictures the bodice of a female figure, her head bowed, hands interlaced at the waist, surrounded by the mouth of a volcanic mountain. Al-Hadid’s first interpretation of the painting culminated in the monumental sculpture Citadel (2017–18), a hollowed silhouette of a woman framed by the base of an embankment whose porous mass extends like a root system toward the ground. Her face is vacant of features, delineated instead by two severe lines like one would find in the initial sketch of a portrait artist, that indicate her gaze remains lowered. Yet in contrast to the demure painting, the massive scale of the work allows for her downcast eyes to stare straight into those of the viewer below.