Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Joan Fontcuberta: Uncanny Laughter

Joan Fontcuberta is a writer and artist who creates photography that plays with photography.  I am writing about him here as this connects to the new direction of my project. When writing my diary I just wanted to make images and I knew where those images had descended - so in my specialist sessions I was creating instruction photography and the instruction I was working with was a line from a book or a film.  I thought the line will come to me and so it did when I was watching Hannibal.  Lecter stated; ' You can't anticipate dreams...'. In my next post, I will share my first 'anticipation with you, however, in this post I want to discuss Fontcuberta who in his 'Karelia, Miracles & Co, 2002'  has photographs of himself levitating, performing miracles, multiplying, skiing on a shark as a priest all of which have no value beyond manifestation. 

These strange images and his playful use of photography to subvert the conventions of photography.

This short exhibition trailer explains further....

Fontcuberta writes in his chapter The Perfect Blind Man in 'Photography after Photography; 'I invented Borges and now his ghost will not stop haunting me. I invented Borges and cooked up the idea of a photographer-without-knowing-it, a photographer-in-spite-of-himself.  I don't know if Borges is at all grateful to me.  No one has ever arrived at a more profound and poetic metaphysics of the world than Borges, with his visual fantasy and fascination for mirrors, illusions and paradoxes.  he wrote that the memory is as much a prodigy as divination, for both past and present are tracts of time and time is an illusion.' (Fontcuberta J: 2014 P49) What is interesting here is that we are all haunted by our dreams, by ideas that will not stop returning and perhaps that somewhere inside us we realize that in the blink of an eye our lives have existed already in entirety and we are just now actors in a dream that we are still living.  Photography stops time, records moments in time that then become without time.  The photograph becomes false memory and then we live within the photograph.

There is so much more here to be said, but perhaps as it has already been said this is where I shall end for now but I will return to this as we all do in an eternal return.


Fontcuberta J, (2004) Photography After Photography, Mack Books, Barcelona

Science & Media Museum (202) Joan Fontcuberta: Stranger than Fiction (20 November 2014 – 5 February 2015) [Online] Available from: (Accessed 05/02/20)

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