Hardcover (with obi)
Limited Edition of 500
170 x 227 mm
Late on 13 June 2015 heavy rainfalls hit Tbilisi and the nearby areas. By the morning, 19 people would be dead. Many families were now homeless, a zoo destroyed, and a city in shock. The city became a wilderness full of dangerous beasts. The zoo lost more than 300 animals. The majority, killed by flooding. Several survivors — a hippopotamus, big cats, wolves, bears, and hyenas—escaped from destroyed pens and cages to the streets of Tbilisi. Some were killed, others recaptured and brought back to the zoo. Many Georgians condemned the foreign media’s focus on the zoo and their indifference to the stories of the human victims. Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, an influential head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, in his Sunday sermon, blamed the floods on the “sin” of the former Communist regime. Which, he said, built the zoo in its current location using money raised from destroying churches and melting down their bells.
Drawing upon an aesthetic born from surrealism, the project hints at personal fascinations, alongside visions of dystopia feeding upon the portent of current threats and events. Verschaeave is interested in the idea of ‘magical realism’ and the addition of something ‘extra’ into the common-place and the mundane. Taking the leap and transplanting the genre from literary fiction into black and white photography—the visual language with past associations with documentary and truth telling— Verschaeave layers a veil of poetry over the every day.
About the Artist
Francesco was born in Aosta, Italy, in 1986 and he’s based in Milan. After a bachelor’s degree in industrial design at the Politecnico University of Milan, he completely devoted himself to photography. He works on documentary long-term projects. Always looking for a point of contact between his photojournalistic background and a strong interest in metaphors and symbolism. In 2016 he was selected by the British Journal of Photography for ‘The Talent Issue: Ones to Watch’. In 2020, Francesco was shortlisted for the “Prix HSBC pour la Photographie”. In 2021, he’s been one of the nominees for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award.
Merlini has been exhibited worldwide in collective and solo exhibitions. And his pictures have been published on Italian and international outlets as Washington Post, Financial Times, Le Monde, L’Espresso, Internazionale, Corriere della Sera, D. La Repubblica, Sette, Wired, Gq, Die Welt, La Stampa, Rolling Stone.
About the Publisher
Void is an independent publishing house dedicated to photography books and education. The project is driven by its founders Myrto Steirou and João Linneu. You might bump into Myrto, Void’s editor, at a book fair or festival in a far flung part of the globe, but you’ll usually find her in Greece, at their store in Athens. João, Void’s designer, is based in Reykjavík… it’s entirely possible that you may not meet him (in person at least). Void works with both established and up-and-coming artists, proudly fostering photographers’ debut books.
Void has collaborated with many international art institutions since we started, back in October 2016. In 2021 Void became one of Futures Photography’s members. Void is devoted to and passionate about the projects they undertake. In their books, you will find powerful stories and innovative design, melded together with fine and experimental material.