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19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA
by Luca Rotondo


Lares is an ongoing project about one’s relationship with the death of pets. I have met several families who decided to keep the body of the animal they loved in their homes: embalmed, in the form of a skeleton, or in formalin.

What may seem an anomaly is actually a more widespread practice. It responds to a deep emotional and relational lack, and helps to deal with the transition between life and death.

Taxidermy, for the common imagination, is linked to hunting or museum exhibitions. The people I met thought they were isolated and rare cases. Instead, the journeys I made from Padua to Naples, from Venice to Rome, in rich or modest homes, between young people or families with children, revealed a more common need than they thought.

Lares refers to the statues of the spirits of ancestors, who are protectors of home and family according to Roman civilization. Like those statues, dead animals are preserved in daily life places. It’s there that I wanted to set the family portraits.