artist / participant


press release

Emotional Archaeology is a major solo exhibition of artist Daphne Wright, curated by Josephine Lanyon. The exhibition at Arnolfini is the first comprehensive survey of Wright's work and will present a number of key works spanning the artist's career.

Over 25 years, Daphne Wright has pursued with relentless curiosity the ways in which materials can express our unspoken human preoccupations. Working with clay, casting, sound, film and drawing, she explores intimate and domestic issues such as parenting, ageing, care and our complex relationship with animals. Wright has a deep sensitivity to the nature of materials, often using disproportionately labour-intensive processes and fragile or unstable materials. She frequently turns to traditional craft and figurative techniques in order to create worlds that, while beautiful, are shadowed by something darker and more troubling.

Daphne Wright has developed an approach that involves intensive research and psychological engagement, and the exhibition at Arnolfini considers her practice as "emotional archaeology." Sculpture, installation and sound, drawing, prints, and film draw upon references from political, social or art history to literature and film, poetry and music. These materials are employed in an unsettling and subtle subterfuge that aims to make visible hidden truths.

The presentation of Emotional Archaeology at Arnolfini coincides with an exhibition of the same name at National Trust Tyntesfield, where two installations by Daphne respond to the history of the Victorian Gothic house and estate. The chapel will house filmic portraits of individuals in intensely private moments of prayer and meditation. In contrast, cast and photographic works in the main house examine a history of breeding and lineage.

A publication has been produced for the exhibition, the first survey of the artists' practice (available from Arnolfini for a special exhibition price). The book includes two interviews with Daphne Wright as well as new essays by Penelope Curtis, Director of Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Xa Sturgis, Director of Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and Josephine Lanyon, curator of the exhibition Emotional Archaeology.

In December, Daphne Wright will be in conversation with acclaimed artist Phyllida Barlow, who will represent Britain at the 2017 Venice Biennial. Book tickets. 

Daphne Wright   (born 1963, Ireland) is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London, and was elected as a member of the Aosdana, Irish Association of Artists in 2011. The artist has presented solo exhibitions at many venues including, Where Do Broken Hearts Go at Douglas Hyde Gallery (2002); Nonsense with Death, Sligo Art Gallery (2001); and Daphne Wright, Limerick City Art Gallery (2006); Cornerhouse, Manchester (1994); The New Art Centre Sculpture Park and Gallery and The Lowry (2001). She has also participated in group exhibitions at the Hamburger Kunsthalle (2008); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2000); P.S.1 in New York (1999); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (1997); and Tate Liverpool (1995).