Saturday, May 1, 2010

New York Horticultural Society Gala 2010

The theme was "Fairy Tales, Legends and Myths". We decided to create a statue based on the Grecian myth of the god Apollo and his beloved nymph Daphne :
"where the god's infatuation was caused by an arrow from Eros, who wanted to make Apollo pay for making fun of his archery skills and to demonstrate the power of love's arrow. Ovid treats the encounter, Apollo's lapse of majesty, in the mode of elegiac lovers, and expands the pursuit into a series of speeches. According to the rendering Daphne prays for help either to the river god Peneus or to Gaia, and is transformed into a laurel (Laurus nobilis): "a heavy numbness seized her limbs, thin bark closed over her breast, her hair turned into leaves, her arms into branches, her feet so swift a moment ago stuck fast in slow-growing roots, her face was lost in the canopy. Only her shining beauty was left."
We based the sculpture on various renditions of the myth through the classical 15th century painting by Antonio Pollaiuolo to the baroque life size statue by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and reinterpreted it using materials such as bark nuggets for Daphne's body, covering her skin in flax seeds, attaching live phalenopsis roots to her feet and giving her the appropriate laurel branches with attached laurel leaves. Apollo also wore a laurel wreath as did each chair swag. We suspended a bevy of suspended votives to signify the presence of Eros(a primeval deity of sexual love and beauty who embodies not only the force of love but also the creative urge of ever-flowing nature, the firstborn Light for the coming into being and ordering of all things in the cosmos) All in all the final centerpiece was imbued with many literal references to the allegory of unrequited love.

A closer image of Apollo draped with a massive dried leaf and the detail of Daphne's foot sprouting roots into the mossy earth below.