The title of this work derives from the name of the goat that nursed infant Zeus, according to Greek mythology. It consisted of photographing mothers with distinct personalities and diverse figures, each of them actually breastfeeding her baby, in the intimate atmosphere of my studio. It is meant to pay photo homage to this universal act, while borrowing references from Italian or Dutch Renaissance painting. There is also a reference to the sensuality which is common in most of the religious paintings since the Middle Ages, frequently close to profane subjects by including suggestive poses and nude figures.
By revisiting this icon of the nursing virgin, a central and recurring theme from the 15th to the 17th century, to the point of having marked our collective unconsciousness, I try to question the process of representation and incarnation of such an archetypal image by real and present times mothers, whom I ask to be in an “non-self” attitude, whilst fully living this privileged bond and intimate moment with their child.
One of the aims of this work is revealing the universality of this gesture by conveying a sense of timelessness: leaving out any traces of contemporary days, relieving each mother of everything that might give away a point in time or place; I focus on the mother and child relation, as well as on the beauty and emotion emanating from this breastfeeding moment. In order to achieve it I use minimal veils and drapes, to evoke the idea of timelessness and erase these women’s identity features.
Inside my studio, as single spectator of this symbiotic scene, I observe, stare at and thus extract the evasive moments of state of grace, when the outlines of an «out of time» attitude are manifested along with the sensation of a pictorial déjà vu. Far from the idea of intending to plagiarize or imitate this or that representation of a nursing virgin by using a specific model, I try to understand how certain mechanisms of introjective identification operate, in the case of assimilation of simple and yet so powerful images as those of Christian iconography Madonnas.
The other intention of this work is to question what photography, as a reality transcription tool, could provide further or more than painting, to the construction of this kind of image, along with its power to unveil the details that Renaissance painters wouldn’t or couldn’t see nor represent.