Conversations with Lucio, 2009
” (…) The demographics, which are based on averages, similarities and measurements of achievements, exemplify the thinking in society which fails to take into account individual difference, and therefore allows people to ‘fall through the net’, or to fail, by the standards of such measurement against average. My experience of co-parenting Lucio has taught me that difference is more defining than similarity, and that acknowledging difference is more humanizing than stressing similarity, and as a correlative I have come to believe that the function of art is not the stress common human experience, but to expose one to human difference – to ‘see through the eyes and the heart’ of the artist is not about understanding the degree to which the artist is like me, necessarily, but also a way of understanding that the artist is NOT like me – that my viewpoint, however that is framed, is not the only nor the best way to see the world. (…) Ania Dabrowska’s beautiful sequence of photographs ‘Conversations with Lucio’ clearly illustrates the point I make above about artistic view, and a good few others about the limitations and strengths of photography… ”
Lucio is an autistic boy who was born in Albania, and now lives in Amsterdam with his mother and dads. Amongst other things, his autism affects his speech ability and his focus. It can arrests his attention to a degree, that it is impossible to distract him from intense observations of what may seem like randomly chosen objects, such as chains, grids, cracks in the walls, patterns of light – at times for considerable amount of time. This demands from Lucio and his family and carers a degree of surrender to the unknown. One slows down, learns to let go of a habitual urgency, strives to fill in the silence, follows his gaze and imagines… and somewhere along the line, finds an unexplainable and fleeting sense of connection. The letting go of a semiological and cognitive knowledge loosens the entanglement of conscious thoughts and an ego, offering a glimpse of meditative freedom. Through the pairing and inversions of photographs in the series, the artist embraces the impossibility of understanding everything; celebrating the unknown; its potential to be a source of beauty and wonder.