Friday, 22 June 2012

Review of Danja Akulin: Penumbra at Erarta Gallery

Danja Akulin: Penumbra
Erarta Gallery
15 June – 14 July 2012

“When less than four years old I was standing with my nurse, Mary Ward, watching the shadows on the wall from branches of an elm behind which the moon had risen. I have never forgot those shadows and am often trying to paint them.” (The Life and Letters of Samuel Palmer, Painter and Etcher, AH Palmer, London, 1892)

Shadows, and the interplay of light and dark, have long been a matter of intrigue and concern, both for artists and philosophers alike. As early as Plato, the shadow was used as a metaphor for human knowledge and ideas, in his allegory of the cave, and, in the 19th century, Nietzsche equated light with knowledge and darkness with ignorance. The Greek myth of Dibutades tells of a young Corinthian maid who traces the shadow of her lover on the cave wall, and whose father, a clay modeler, then fills the silhouette with clay to produce the first sculptural relief. This tale has been reprised by numerous artists over the centuries, including Jean Baptiste Regnault as Origin of Painting (1785) and Joseph Wright as The Corinthian Maid (1782-1784).

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