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Ian Charles Lepine seeks to present beings trapped in a crossroads of contradiction: his interest is to display creatures whose very existence negates their very existence. These are beings at war with themselves, a war where all victories cannot but prove pyrrhic.


His sculptures are frequently accompanied by a poem in either English, French, or Italian, that seeks to give word to the tragedy intrinsic to the form.

Author: Ian Charles Lepine

Year: 2022

Title: Daphne, or the Sorrow of Victory

Technique: Ceramic clay sculpture, painted with oxides and enamel.


Ovid tells in his Metamorphoses how Apollo inflamed by beauty tried to ravish Daphne. To escape him, the nymph beseeched the gods to spare her; their aid comes at a cost; they turned her into a laurel tree, saving or perhaps dooming her. Death by life, life by death. This piece seeks to explore a moment not frequently witnessed in the representations of this myth, which tend to focus on the exact moment the nymph is metamorphosed.

     Here, on the other hand, we see the end of her transformation. Time has passed, the scene is almost peaceful, with a river running next to the husk of what she was. Most of Daphne’s human traits are lost, and yet it is difficult to tell where the human ends and the inhuman begins. The sculpture invites the question: ‘is this a landscape or a portrait?’

Laurel Crowned

To escape, to save yourself forevermore

Of pain of shame of death and of disgrace

You asked the gods a gift he would abhor:

To kill your human self so full of grace.

And though Apollo loved, he loved in vain;

For you were more than prize for men or gods,

And though perhaps another might have lain

With such a being, divine against all odds,

Lucrecia-like you hungered after death,

And death itself allowed your being to bloom;

Within your trunk I still perceive your breath;

Your eyes are blank and speak with glee of doom.

You turned to flower, reached sublimity

And thus received the crown of victory.


–11 February MMXXI

Villa Borghese, Rome

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