For the fifth show in this series of The Collection Illuminated by ... exhibitions, the Nederlands Fotomuseum has invited photographer Charlotte Dumas to act as guest-curator and make a personal selection of works from the museum’s rich and varied collection. Dumas selected fifteen images that she finds inspirational or important. Like her own work, the selection reflects Dumas’ empathy with animals and children. Water is also a leitmotif. The exhibition will include work by photographers of the calibre of Martien Coppens, Ed van der Elsken, Cas Oorthuys and Richard Tepe. With personal comments accompanying each photograph, this intimate presentation casts new light on the collection while at the same time offering the public a clear idea of Dumas’ own motivations as a photographer.
Our geographical signature
‘In Japan,’ Dumas explains, ‘I had my first direct experience of an earthquake. I found it quite literally shocking and immediately wondered how Japanese people manage to live with the idea that it can happen again at any moment. And then I thought of our own country. Dutch homes are largely below sea level and in a way we also live with a constant threat, but I don’t feel as if it’s constantly on our minds.’ This thought was the starting point for Dumas’s selection of fifteen photographs from the collection of the Nederlands Fotomuseum.
Although Charlotte Dumas (b. 1977, Vlaardingen) concentrates on animals in her photographic portraiture, her work is really just as much about the people who keep them. Inspired by the “traditional ingredients” (as she puts it) of 17th-century Dutch painting, Dumas makes subtle and harmonious use of the compositions, light and poses of Old Master portraits. Her work is invariably serial in nature and the subjects of her photographs include police and military horses, wolves in the wild, tigers in captivity, canine strays, and service dogs. By immortalising these animals serially, Dumas gives them – as it were - a human face. Dumas trained in Amsterdam, at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (1996-2000) and the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten (2000-2001). Since 2012 she has made films as well as photographs. Her work has been exhibited at De Pont (Tilburg), Galerie Paul Andriesse (Amsterdam), FOAM (Amsterdam) and the Julie Saul Gallery (New York).
For the exhibition series The Collection Illuminated by... we let guest-curators have a look at our rich photography collection. Dumas was preceded by photographers/artists Vincent Mentzel, Stephan Vanfleteren, Eddy Posthuma de Boer and Jan Cremer.