More Than Fiction

photography Joan Fontcuberta
written by Željko Kipke


 Strange things occur in his photographs, indeed. Although few people doubt their truthfulness, especially because they show animal and herbaceous species that no one has ever seen before, let alone recorded, the visitors who come to see his exhibitions are not completely assured that everything they have seen is merely a crude joke. Priests who surf on a dolphin or walk on water, a snake with six pairs of legs, flying elephants, a centaur half a monkey and half a goat, a night sky full of shooting stars, mermaid fossils, monkeys with wings and a horn on their heads, mountain regions where a human foot had never stepped before...


These are only a few of strange live species and scenes which can be seen on the photographs of Joan Fontcuberta, a Catalan photographer born in Barcelona in 1955. You might think that he has wandered into the 21st century from the 17th century, because almost everything which is shown at his exhibitions (often held in Natural Science Museums) looks as if it was borrowed from Wunderkammer. It is also completely different from the modern practice, where authors are mostly interested in socially sensitive topics, closely linked to social pseudo-activism, etc.