Michael Schnabel - Cages

A Cage went in search for a bird.

Franz Kafka, Collected Aphorisms

Photographic series of empty zoo cages (2000-2002)
by german photographer Michael Schnabel


Big Cats



Polar Bears



"Schnabel’s formalist aesthetic is so visually seductive that one is tempted to simply overlook any meanings associated with the subject matter. In the Cage Series, fortunately there are plenty of poignant clues.

For one thing, there’s an overwhelming feeling of empty space, leading one to notice the conspicuous absence of the animals that are supposed to be living there. There are traces indicative of their presence--food troughs, bales of hay, wading pools, simulated habitats with logs and foliage. The photographs’ titles don’t give away what types of animals inhabit these spaces; one can only guess. Schnabel photographed in the early daylight hours when they were asleep. The stillness is soothing but unnatural, so you begin to wonder what it would be like to live there."


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