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A picture is worth a thousand (untrue) words

Joan Fontcuberta, explorer of truth and lies in photography, is coming to Concordia
February 10, 2015
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By Tracey Lindeman

"Through the Looking Glass," interactive photo projection, 2010, by Joan Fontcuberta | Courtesy of the artist "Through the Looking Glass," interactive photo projection, 2010, by Joan Fontcuberta | Courtesy of the artist

Catalan curator and photographer Joan Fontcuberta has spent his four-decade career manipulating images to tell stories of things that never happened.

This February, Fontcuberta is in town as guest curator for Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal 2015. His Speaking of Photography lecture, “Postphotography: The Revenge of Images,” will discuss the use and evolution of the medium in an era of unprecedented access to photo-taking technology.

As a curator, Fontcuberta works with ideas that also inspire his art. He once collected the debris and dead bugs from his car windshield and used it to simulate telescopic images of the cosmos. He called it "Constellations."

"Mural Kiss," 2014, by Joan Fontcuberta | Image courtesy of the artist "Mural Kiss," 2014, by Joan Fontcuberta | Image courtesy of the artist

His "Fauna" detailed the supposed zoological rarities discovered by a fake German scientist in the early 1900s, including a monkey with a unicorn horn and wings and a snake with 12 feet.

In "Sputnik," he fabricated “evidence” of a Soviet conspiracy to cover up the disappearance of cosmonaut Ivan Istochnikov during a 1968 space mission. “Ivan Istochnikov” — a rough Russian translation of “Joan Fontcuberta” — never existed.

The curator is sharing his lifelong fascination with the conflict between nature, technology and the truth at Concordia on Friday, February 13, as part of the Speaking of Photography series.

Fontcuberta's Fauna series detailed fabricated zoological rarities. From left to right: Aerofants (foto: C. A. Bromley), 1941. Solenoglypha Polipodida, 1985. Fontcuberta's Fauna series detailed fabricated zoological rarities. From left to right: Aerofants (foto: C. A. Bromley), 1941. Solenoglypha Polipodida, 1985. | Images courtesy of the artist

Fontcuberta is speaking at 6:30 p.m. on February 13 in the York Amphitheatre (EV-1.605), in the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV) on the Sir George Williams Campus.

Speaking of Photography is an ongoing lecture series organized by Concordia’s Department of Art History.

Previous lecturers in 2014-15 included Sherry Farrell Racette’s “Indigenous Photography as Voice and Witness” and Ian Walker’s “The Short, Sharp History of Surrealist Photography.” The next lecture is Aaron Glass’ “In the Land of Head Hunters,” on March 13.

Find out more about Speaking of Photography.

 



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