Tbilisi, After the Flood
Francesco Merlini’s book “The Flood” takes inspiration from a news event, a deadly flood in Tbilisi, Georgia, focusing on the surviving animals of the local zoo.
The book’s endpapers feature pages of Georgian newspapers on June 13, 2015: heavy rainfalls hit Tbilisi and the nearby areas, killing 19 people. 300 animals of the local zoo died. Some others were saved, some more were killed while roaming the city streets. Awash in a faded light, the images that follow offer suspended moments for the viewer to decipher.
A bear and wolves react to a piece of meat thrown in a shared cage, a zebra stands surrounded by goats, a man walks on a deserted street. The animals in distress recall scenes of Emir Kusturica’s film “Underground”, where the Belgrade zoo is bombed in 1941, during World War II. Francesco Merlini’s photography resists explanations, creating scenes that hint to a broken reality for animals and human beings alike.