Joan Fontcuberta

Joan Fontcuberta - Timetunnel.jpg

© Damian Zimmermann

Joan Fontcuberta (*1955 in Barcelona / Spain) lives and works in Barcelona. 

Fontcuberta graduated in 1977 with a degree in Communication from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Since 1993 he has been Professor of Communication Sciences at the University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

In his artistic and theoretical work, Spanish artist Joan Fontcuberta deals with major themes of humanity, such as nature and technology. In his works he creates a visual universe in which truth and fiction are closely interwoven. Fontcuberta reflects on the evidential power attributed to photography and takes this promise ad absurdum with a sense of humour and sharp wit. In doing so, he refers to the use of photography in applied fields such as science, politics or religion from within his artistic work.

In the early series Sputnik (from 1997), which was awarded the Hasselblad Award in 2015, Fontcuberta plays with the longings and visions that connect people with the idea of travelling space. He designs the fictional astronaut Ivan Istochnikov (the closest Russian translation by Joan Fontcuberta), who goes down in space under strange circumstances. To lend authenticity to the story, the artist uses a variety of historical documents.

"The archive is the bastion of memory and its power is protected in fortresses where documents are irregularly accumulated. It is the guardians of those places who hold the authority to preserve access to information. Managing that access means having the key to knowledge and storytelling. This the archive becomes a recurring place for contemporary artistic creation.
There are archives governed by opacity and intolerance, which undoubtedly express the panic of losing the monopoly over history. Censorship is their shield and then the artist responds as a hacker by leaking and spreading those kidnapped voices.
But luckily there are also archives that are the result of a desire for freedom, transparency and democracy. When the file is open to free interpretation, it is as if we invest our intelligence in a new cave of Ali Baba.
My artistic projects have been dealing in a collateral way or focusing on archives and the resulting works have got successful upon the treasure I’ve been able to discover."
Joan Fontcuberta, December 2019

Joan Fontcuberta is an invited AMA artist at the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR).

More information about the artist here: