Charlotte Dumas’ latest photobook “Ao” follows the creation of three narratively-linked short films—“Shio” (2018), “Yorishiro” (2020) and “Ao” (2021)—shot on the remote Japanese island of Yonaguni. In the films and in the book, the central relationship is that between native horses and several young girls who play and represent different roles. As exemplified by her previous work, Dumas’s fascination with the bond between animal and human lies in its ambivalence and depth. Incorporating symbolism and recurring themes such as the color blue (“ao” in Japanese), Dumas’ book of almost magical-seeming, quiet photographs explores themes of autonomy, trauma, relationships and touches upon a deep, universal essence of being.
The book includes the poem “Time Dive” by Maria Barnas and an afterword by Charlotte Dumas (all texts in English).