Dutch Photographer's Work Goes on Display at Corcoran Gallery of Art
(Washington, D.C.) — The Corcoran presents Charlotte Dumas: Anima, the first solo exhibition in the US by the Dutch artist.
Anima, organized by Paul Roth, the Corcoran’s senior curator and director of photography and media arts, will run from July 14 through Oct. 28, and showcase a newly commissioned series of Charlotte Dumas portraits in the Corcoran’s Rotunda. The exhibit includes the majestic burial horses of Arlington National Cemetery, and will be accompanied by three earlier bodies of work, showing the artist’s range of approaches to her subjects.
A rising international contemporary artist, Dumas recently received widespread acclaim for her photographs of the surviving search-and-recovery dogs of 9/11.
“Dumas’ photographs are intended to provoke a kind of interaction, one that is focused and intense, between her viewers and her subjects,” said Roth. “Her goal is to engender a visual relationship, so that the portrait makes us more conscious of how we look at animals in our everyday lives.”
It is the fourth exhibition in NOW at the Corcoran, a program dedicated to showcasing work by midcareer and emerging artists.
Making evocative photographs
Dumas travels the world making evocative formal portraits of animals, and typically works in series, portraying animals characterized by their utility, social function, or by the way they relate to people. Drawing inspiration from classical portrait painting of the 17th century Dutch Golden Age to explore the relationship between her subjects and their environment, Dumas often presents her subjects as heroic, engaged in a struggle of sorts against their marginalization or confinement, and against the spatial and psychological encroachment of people.
“The bond between mankind and animals, and the extensive history that it accompanies, is my great interest,” said the artist. “I investigate how we tend to use and regard animals for our own purposes, both literally and symbolically and the characteristics that we like to take to heart from them, and the ones we attribute to them.”
Commissioned by the Corcoran, Dumas recently began photographing Arlington National Cemetery’s burial horses while in their stables and at work. These Army horses, which belong to the Old Guard, the 3rd Infantry Regiment, carry soldiers to their final resting place in traditional military funerals.
Additionally, the exhibition presents three earlier series of portraits that investigate the inner lives of particular animals: Reverie (2005) depicts gray wolves, alone and in packs, in forested nature preserves in Sweden, Norway, and the United States; Palermo 7 (2006) contains close-up portraits of racehorses, with their heads tethered in place in their hippodrome stalls in Italy and France; and Heart Shaped Hole (2008) depicts stray dogs, adapting in different ways to the privation they experience on the streets of Palermo.
About Charlotte Dumas
Charlotte Dumas was born in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, in 1977. She graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam in 2000 and continued her education at the Rijksakademie from 2001 to 2002. Her work has been included in many group exhibitions and in solo shows in the Netherlands, Italy, France, and the United States. Dumas has published several books, including Retrieved (2011), Repose (2010), and Paradis (2009), each dedicated to her portrait series. Charlotte Dumas lives and works in both Amsterdam and New York City. She is represented by Julie Saul Gallery in New York and by Galerie Paul Andriesse in Amsterdam.
Dumas will return to the Corcoran College of Art + Design in the fall for critiques and opportunities to discuss her work with students, and to present a public lecture at the end of October.
Charlotte Dumas: Anima is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art and made possible through the support of the Mondriaan Foundation and Netherlands Cultural Services. For more information on the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design, please visit www.corcoran.org.
Photo credit: Charlotte Dumas, Peter, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, 2012. Pigment inkjet print, 35 x 47 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam/Julie Saul Gallery, New York. © Charlotte Dumas.