In Apollo and Daphne by Ketty La Rocca, the vintage photo of Bernini's sculpture becomes a vague composition of lines, shadows and voids, passing through some in-between stages where the profiles of the figures are replaced by the artist’s words written by hand and then from drawing to pen-stroke.
A process of reduction where image and writing are merged, rediscovering a shared origin in the line.
The metamorphosis of the nymph who – in order to escape the unwanted persistence of the god – turns into a laurel tree, on one hand restores the permeability between visual and verbal at the centre of La Rocca's research since the beginning, with the Florentine Gruppo 70 movement.
On the other hand, the myth symbolises an ancestral female condition of minority, which La Rocca is highly critical of.
In her work, in fact, the artist often emphasises the many hypocrisies that revolve around women in mass communication, in Catholic culture, in the family and within Italian society of the Sixties and Seventies.
A gender awareness that, beginning from the deconstruction of advertising rhetoric, leads La Rocca to a substantial distrust of verbal language as a place for the patriarchal norm to accumulate, prompting her to instead re-evaluate the authenticity of the gesture and the body.
Apollo e Dafne (1974) by Ketty La RoccaLa Galleria Nazionale
Voice message by Francesca Gallo, PhD and teacher of Contemporary Art at Università La Sapienza.