Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam presents Paradis, the first major retrospective of the work of Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas (b. Vlaardingen, 1977). Dumas makes serene, intimate portraits of animals. For the first time, Dumas presents a selection from the various series of animal portraits she has made in recent years. Shown here in a single exhibition, a new relationship emerges between the portraits of horses, wolves, tigers and other animals, highlighting the connection between the different subjects. Dumas also presents a selection of the polaroids she has taken on the side since she began and which provide tangible evidence of her extensive travels in pursuit of her subject.
Charlotte Dumas, Untitled (Mask), 2009
It was at the Rijksakademie that she made her first series of animal portraits - five police dogs - which grew from a fascination with the portrayal of controlled aggression. In subsequent years several series emerged focusing on subjects such as police horses (Four Horses), army horses (Day is Done), wolves (Reverie), and more recently street dogs (Heart Shaped Hole). The relationship between man and animal forms a constant indirect element in her work. Dumas prefers to photograph animals with a close connection to humans and who fulfil an important role for us: animals that have been tamed or trained by humans and which serve a particular purpose, whether in an actual task or by their appearance. Each of these animals lives in a human environment, generally in captivity. Dumas employs traditional formats, invariably placing the subject in the centre, portraying moments of concentrated calm. The psychology of portraiture plays a key role in this.
(Images: Charlotte Dumas, Untitled (Reward), 2009; Charlotte Dumas, Untitled (Mask), 2009; All images © Charlotte Dumas; Courtesy of the artist and FOAM)