Location: Palazzo Ducale, Cortile degli Svizzeri 1
Opening times: Monday – Thursday 3pm – 7:30pm / Friday – Sunday 10am – 7: 30pm
ROBIN SCHWARTZ – AMELIA & THE ANIMALS
The Amelia & the Animals photographs are drawn from actual journeys undertaken by Robin Schwartz with her daughter in the interspecific world that we inhabit with animals.
The work extends over the course of twenty years, starting in 2002, when Amelia was 3 years old. The images tell poignant stories of unusual relationships with other species.
“The world that my daughter and I explored is one where the line between human and animal overlaps or is blurred, where animals are part of our world and humans are part of theirs,” says Schwartz. “Amelia and I played out our fantasies and explored our eccentricities to create a cultural space in the photographs where animals not only co-exist with humans, but also interact as full partners. I am driven to depict our relationships with animals in the hope that these moments portray the sameness of humans and animals. Amelia has an enormous fortitude and ingenuity in her ability to relate to each individual animal with kindness and respect. My daughter is more than a pretty muse. Amelia is smart, tough, and brave enough to calmly cajole animals. As Amelia matures, her collaboration with me enriches and expands, evolving into a true collaboration: Amelia’s preferences are important to the balance of our working process.”
Interspecies relationships have always been the motivation in all long-term projects carried out by Schwartz. Animals in her photographs are not represented as beastly, noble, or as props, and no one is photo-shopped into the images. Each animal is seen and experienced as an individual, part of our everyday world, participating in the dramas the photographs capture.
The most recent series Amelia, Emily and Babie represents their relationship with two rescued primates: Emily, in her mid-twenties, is an extremely unique capuchin and Babie, in her teens, is a tiny macaque. Babie is also a triple amputee, missing half an arm and a leg on opposite sides, half a tail and a frozen middle digit. Both remarkable primates are now with a knowledgeable, loving caretaker.
“These twenty-three years of motherhood were often shadowed by a whirlwind of work deadlines. In retrospect, the work with Amelia represents the most significant era of my life, and became a lifeline to my child,” explains the artist. “Photographing animals and the people that are devoted to animals is what I have always cared about and the driving force in all my work. Photography and animals are my passport to each other. I see animals as my spiritual connection; my religion; my vice; my addiction. Animals calm me; comfort me – they save me.”
Schwartz and her daughter share an affinity with the animal kingdom that unites them to create photographs that tangibly access our dreams and discover the extraordinary, showing us a fascinating way to express our sameness to others.