Joan Fontcuberta

Joan Fontcuberta

Internet and graphic softwares have become an essential part of fields like photography and art. Photographers and artists are increasingly employing these technologies to create something unique. For many photographers, camera is not the only tool with which they make a photograph or a piece of art. One such person is a well-known conceptual photographer and artist, Joan Fontcuberta, who was born in 1955. He is also a teacher, editor, curator and writer.

He received a communication’s degree from Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1977. In his early years of career, he worked in the field of advertising just like his family. Between 1979 and 1986, he taught at the University of Barcelona in the Fine Arts department.

In 1980, he co-founded PhotoVision, a visual art journel. Fontcuberta has also been teaching at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University since 1993. In 2003, he was a visiting instructor at Harvard University in environmental and visual studies.

In 1994, the French Ministry of Culture made him the Officer of the National Order of Arts and Letters. Two years later, he was became art director of Recontres d’Arles.

The dictatorship and propaganda in the two decades of his life, of Fascist Spain, made him skeptical about authority. This aspect is represented in his art work. Another element reflected in his work is his background in advertising and communications. In addition, Fontcuberta feels humor is a vital factor in his work.

His work is in the permanent possession of several museums, such as in Tucson’s Center for Creative Photography; Art Institute of Chicago; Rochester’s George Eastman House; New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; Paris’s Centre Georges Pompidou, and Musée National d’Art Moderne; Essen’s Museum Folkwang; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Cologne’s Museum Ludwig; Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada; New York’s Museum of Modern Art; Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; and etc. Moreover, there are galleries that represent Fontcuberta. They are, New York’s Zabriskie Gallery; Madrid’s Galeria Senda; and Paris’s Galerie Nathalie Pariente.

His photographs have been published in Sputnik, 1997; Twilight Zones, 2000; and The Artist and the Photograph.

Some of his works may seem life-like, however they are graphically made using three dimensional softwares. For example the Catalan landscapes were developed for the United States air force. He uploaded the actual photographed or painted landscapes on his computer and then re-made it all.

An exhibition by Joan Fontcuberta, titled Through the Looking Glass in association with Digital Nights, involved internet resources – Reflectograms and Googlegrams. These pieces of works aim to reflect the significance of the rise in use of images, the potential of viral distribution and broadcast, as well as artists’ proliferation.

For Joan Fontcuberta, photographs are of two kinds – ones that make you think; and others that are simply decorative. He has chosen the first type of photography – one that makes you wonder, ponder over subjects and allow you to open your mind. He admits that it is a challenge to articulate images in a way that viewers are driven towards a topic or subject – so much so that they reflect upon the work, discuss or question it.

Fontcuberta sees himself as a self-educated photographer , inspired by the Dadaists and Situationists. He deals with in subjects from the perspective of a concept. This makes it easier for him to smear the edges of fiction and fact. In his photos, nothing is what it appears to be.