Pet

Paolo Topy Rossetto Photographer - Pet 01
Paolo Topy Rossetto Photographer - Pet 02
Paolo Topy Rossetto Photographer - Pet 03

PET 2004

Photo

In 1962, Dr. Boris Mayer Levinson, a child psychiatrist, published an article in the journal “Mental Hygiene” about the beneficial effects that animals can have on people: “the dog as co-therapist”: it was revolutionary. In this tender and caustic series of portraits pairing all sorts of animals – including toy ones – with their owners, Paolo Topy is also evoking something else. Perhaps he is indicating the extremely fragile limits of this theory, or at the very least, its complexity. The situation may indeed be both less certain and more troubling. While a certain physical, and especially mental, well-being induced by the presence of our four-legged “friends” is now recognized, it would seem that their curative vocation quite simply flies out the door, at least in terms of mental hygiene. In this series, animals or their symbolic representations are obviously a place of refuge for our affections, but not without a certain form of derision. A “touch of folly” that is hardly new, since these representations were introduced to the court by Henry III. The number of aristocratic portraits involving pets produced since then has grown too high to count. In this series, the madness is acknowledged and flaunted. Tenderness, pride, humor and even self-mockery are all interwoven. Freely acknowledging one’s folly, liberating oneself from convention may well, in this specific case, be the best way to find fulfillment, to be happy and serene, or at least to seem to be so by default.

Yves Peltier

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