We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Sydney New South Wales Australia
    Media category
    Mixed media painting
    Materials used
    oil, charcoal and archival glue on digital print on paper mounted to linen
    129.5 x 90.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated. upper c., verso, charcoal “DANIEL/BOYD/2018/(DCPC 4)"

    Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Daniel Boyd 2023
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Daniel Boyd

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    Artist information
    Daniel Boyd

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    ‘Untitled (DCPC 4)’ 2018 is drawn from Boyd’s 2018 solo exhibition ‘Rainbow Serpent’, and forms part of an important series of paintings by the artist which explores the allegory of Plato’s cave. The series of six works have near identical compositions and at the centre of each canvas, a nondescript cave mouth appears. Originally produced by Boyd as identical screenprints, the overpainting in his signature ‘lens’ design is what differs each work. There is variation in the looseness of each composition, giving the effect of shifting shadows. The craggy contours of the rocks that plot the path towards the cave’s opening are delineated slightly different within each version, for the way light seems to penetrate this space varies. Hung together on a wall they look like individual frames from a strip of celluloid, across which light pulses.

    This group, along with similar scenes Boyd has painted throughout his career, recalls the allegory of Plato’s cave. In the allegory, a group of prisoners are chained together in a cave and all they see of the outside world are the shadows cast on its interior wall. These shadows, so the story goes, are metaphors for our faulty perception of reality. Boyd has long been interested in the evocative potential of shadows and their ability to alter our sense of reality. By invoking Plato’s cave, Boyd toys with the line between illusion and representation, how we interact with photography and perception, along with how it has been used historically to ‘capture’ First Nations people.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

Other works by Daniel Boyd

See all 11 works