MUDEC PHOTO, the new exhibition venue of the Museo delle Culture (Museum of Cultures) devoted to fine art photography. MUDEC PHOTO combines artistic research of the highest level with the narrative potential of the so-called “eighth art”. From 16 December 2018 the venue will come alive with two major temporary exhibitions per year and a series of activities related to the world of photography. m The Cultural Department of the Municipality of Milan, MUDEC and 24 ORE Cultura-Gruppo 24 ORE, in collaboration with SUDEST57, have entrusted the opening of MUDEC PHOTO to the genius and sensibility of the great American photographer, Steve McCurry, with Animals, an exhibition project especially created for the Museo delle Culture. Curated by Biba Giacchetti, the exhibition will remain open to the public until 31 March 2019.

Animals will be the protagonists of 60 iconic photos, including both famous and lesser-known ones, illustrating the myriad everyday life stories binding animals and humans. This collective portrayal of moments of interaction touches upon the themes of the labour and support that animals offer man, the consequence of human actions on fauna and wildlife at a local and global level, and the affection that people shower on their “pets”, whatever they may be.

The roots of the Animals project began in 1992, when photographer Steve McCurry documented the devastating environmental impacts of the Gulf War. In that journey, McCurry captured some of his most iconic images, including some of camels in the burning oil fields and migratory birds drenched in oil. This work earned him a prestigious World Press Photo Award.

While visitors are free to explore the exhibition as they please, an invisible map has been developed on three emotional levels, by alternating more fraught images with lighter, more positive ones. There are harsh images where nature had unleashed its power and forever altered the state of an area. Others are images of animals that tell stories of human survival. However, there are many charming, poetic or ironic visual narratives, such as the portraits of animals proudly posing alongside their owners. Some of these include a pink-haired dog in Hollywood, a snake worn like a necklace in an American supermarket, and a girl with two pet rats around her neck.

McCurry takes us on a global journey to discover proximity to the animal world by focusing on emotional bonds and the consequences of human involvement to the environment. While his images are timeless, he seems to feel nostalgia for a world in constant and dangerous transformation that he can only illustrate. “‘Animals’ invites us to reflect on the fact that we are not alone in this world among all the living creatures around us”, explains curator Biba Giacchetti. “Most importantly, this exhibition leaves visitors with the message that while human beings and animals share the same land, it is we humans which are the ones with the power to preserve the planet.”