In keeping with her mythological proclivity, Minotaur (2009) casts a new light on an old narrative. The film takes the ancient Greek story of the half-man, half-bull as its title subject, but at its core, Minotaur is an homage to pioneering modern dancer and choreographer, Anna Halprin. Along with Trisha Brown, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer, Halprin’s fearless and lifelong dance practice paved the way for the evolution of modern and contemporary dance as we understand it today. Growing up with her as a neighbor, Halprin’s life and work has been a leading influence in many of Martin’s films, particularly resonant in her relationship to choreography, and the sensuality of the human body. As such, Minotaur traces three artists’ interpretations of the same legend: Martin’s documentation of Halprin’s erotic interpretation of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture of the Minotaur capturing a nymph—sculpture within dance within film. Extending this sense of accumulating and multiplying points of view, through Martin’s perspective we watch Halprin observing the dancers, the dancers revitalizing Rodin’s sculpture, and Rodin interpreting mythology.
A number of Daria Martin's films explore the relationship between humans and machines and make reference to modernist art, whether through the work of the Bauhuas (Schlemmer), Surrealism (Giacometti's Palace at 4 AM) or American art of the 1960s and 1970s. Her films involve performance and many are shown as 16mm projections – assembling memories, reveries, scholarly research, and imported citations drawn from a wide range of sources including early twentieth century painting, sculpture, fashion, stage, and dance productions. “I came to the medium of film because of its open potential,” writes Daria Martin, “Its invitation to travel through time and space within an imagined world.” The artist values the contradictions of the medium of film, in particular the tension between the private fantasy it stimulates and the public physicality on which it depends.
Daria Martin was born in 1973 in San Francisco. She lives and works in London.