Whitney Biennial 2012

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide allows visitors to hear directly from artists as they discuss the thoughts, processes, and ideas behind their work in the 2012 Whitney Biennial exhibition.

Moyra Davey (b. 1958), _Darling_, 2011. Chromogenic print, 4 x 6 in. (10.2 x 15.2 cm). Collection of the artist. © Moyra Davey; courtesy the artist

NARRATOR: Artist Moyra Davey discusses Les Goddesses. The video draws much of its material from the writings and life stories of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Clair Clairmont.

MOYRA DAVEY: The video is, you know, it combines very personal, private, intimate types of revelations with a sort of delving into this feminist literary history of public intellectuals. I'd been trying to write the autobiographical material. I had a kind of impulse. I had a need, a kind of urgency, for some reason, I don't know why, to write about certain moments of my youth. But I was finding it really difficult, nearly impossible actually.

At the same time I was reading Wollstonecraft and I made this discovery, which was this coincidence of dates between the lives of Wollstonecraft and her daughters and their stepsister and my own family. It was that discovery that allowed me to write the two accounts, the two stories, and interweave them.

Doing the research into Wollstonecraft's life gave permission in a way to write some of the stories of my own life and my family's, my sisters' stories. It was just a device. That coincidence was simply a device, but I used it as a way to connect the two stories. One story enabled the other I think.