Metamorphosis Titian 2012
This project at the National Gallery revolves around the powerful stories found in Titian’s masterpieces. These paintings depict stories from Ovid’s epic poem ‘Metamorphoses’ and the three that are on display at the heart of the exhibition, will be seen together for the first time since the 18th century. However, these pieces become minor characters within this show as they are only the basis to the project. The rest of the exhibition is built up on responses evolved from Titian’s paintings as each dark room shows a different art form and reaction towards the myth.
The National Gallery has been very clever to use such classic work as a foundation to develop art from contemporary artists, choreographers, composers and poets. Chris Ofili, one of the contemporary artists, illustrates his meaning, through his curvaceous figures, portraying sexual desire as the driving force behind Actaeon's and Callisto’s fates. In another room Mark Wallinger exploits the invasion of a woman’s private space, just as shown in Ovid’s story. And Conrad Shawcross represents the relation technology has to the story as he creates an industrial robot to represent the character Diana in a modern way. Poets also show their responses to the stories through their writing.
These entirely different art forms merge together to illustrate the same context. The one form to me that stood out the most in the maze of rooms was the choreography commissioned by the Royal Ballet. Movement seemed like the appropriate way of portraying such a tragic story line, as it can grasp at the emotion involved in it, as well as completely separating itself from the Renaissance portrayal by Titian. I didn’t come out of this show admiring the fame of Titian's work. I came out of this show admiring how someone else can use the same context as Titian and create something just as fascinating and original.