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Western art


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Daedalus A Gain



Anna Paci


1940 -

Giorgio Colombo


1934 -


This series of 22 photographs (read from top left to right) documents an installation by Italian born artists Anna Paci and Giorgio Colombo, during an artist in residency at the Western Australian Institute of Technology, Perth. Like many of their previous collaborations the installation references Greek mythology. In this instance it is used as a metaphor for the creative process, as the title and subject matter of the work is based on the story of the Greek mythological artisan Daedalus. Apart from inventing carpentary tools and statues, he also created a Labyrinth to lock away the half man, half beast called Minotaur. Daedalus and his son Icarus were ultimately imprisoned themselves within the Labyrinth, where the ingenious father created wings from feathers and wax and the two escaped. However, the young Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wax melted and he fell into the sea to his death.

Paci and Colombo's installation alludes to the idea of the "artist as a prisoner of his/her work." This idea is quite literally explored in the myth, as Daedalus is imprisoned in an object of his own construction, the Labyrinth. In these images the rock can be read as symbolising the earth, the Labyrinth and Daedalus' sculpture. The thawing ice references the melting wax of Icarus' wings, while the patterning it creates on the glass through light and reflection may figuratively suggest the seas of the world. These literal elements are suffused with other suggestions. As the ice melts the artist (Daedalus) is closer to freedom and his son to death. In this way the implicit violence (or death) at the conclusion of the story is overshadowed. Subtle time-based elements like the melting ice are used in Paci and Colombo's translation to create an evocative and speculative site for contemplation.




Media category


Materials used

22 gelatin silver photographs


40.5 x 50.6 cm each photograph

Signature & date

Signed l.r.corner verso [each photograph, except number 12], pencil "Paci Colombo ...". Not dated.
Signed l.r.corner verso [photograph number 12], pencil "Colombo ...". Not dated


Gift of the artists 1981


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Anna Paci

Works in the collection


Artist information

Giorgio Colombo

Works in the collection


Referenced in 1 publication


Bernice Murphy (Curator), Project 36: Giorgio Colombo and Anna Paci, Sydney, 1981. Note that this series of work were only referrred to in the bibliography and are not part of this exhibition.