Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Venice - Museo Fortuny - Cultura di Polvere - Joan Fontcuberta

"I do not intervene on an image; I implement an 
objective discipline
one of a surrealist kind; based on a 
chance encounter with the object."
Joan Fontcuberta

Museo Fortuny 
Cultura di Polvere - Joan Fontcuberta

Culture of Dust - curated by Francesca Fabiani - inaugurates the exhibition season at the Museo Fortuny  hosting - until 10 March - twelve light boxes created by Joan Fontcuberta: the outcome of the Catalan artist's dialogue with the extraordinary historical collections of the ICCD in Rome, an institute founded at the end of the nineteenth century as a Photographic Cabinet to document cultural heritage for protection and cataloging purposes. The exhibition, at Palazzo Fortuny, recalls not only the common nationality between the artist and the "landlord" but, above all, the profound bond of this place with photography, from the experiments of Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo to its very rich archive kept here, then an avant-garde center of photo.

Joan Fontcuberta is an artist with multidisciplinary activities, his work, with its critical and experimental approach, addresses some crucial themes of this art such as the truthfulness of representation, the blurred boundary between reality and illusion, authoriality and authoritativeness in photography, the persuasive power of the image and its dissemination.

"May I see the most 
degraded photographic 
material you have in your collection?'
Joan Fontcuberta

The Culture of Dust exhibition was born as part of the ICCD Artists in Residence program curated by Francesca Fabiani, in which Joan Fontcuberta chose to work on some deteriorated photographic plates from the Fondo Chigi, the starting point for a series of visual and linguistic experiments from the photographs of the scion of one of the richest and most powerful noble families in history, Prince Francesco Chigi Albani della Rovere - 1881-1953 - naturalist and amateur photographer, who in the course of his experiments often arrived at surprising solutions and these have combined well with the provocative intelligence and ironic mind of Fontcuberta. This meeting of personalities has produced new works with a contemporary perspective from archive dust - evoked by the title which refers to the famous 1920 work by Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray - √Člevage de poussi√®re .

Through a surrealist type procedure which consists in the taking/appropriation of already given elements - in this case a fragment of the plate - Fontcuberta completed his creative act, returning images that are almost abstract and yet real; implausible, absolutely unmanipulated landscapes that appear in the light box display. 

The materials on which the artist worked, if on the one hand lose their memory, on the other acquire new physiognomy through the many signs that the passage of time has left on them: scratches, gaps and, sometimes, bacteria and fungi proliferated thanks to chemically friendly environment of the silver salt gelatin emulsion. New landscapes that add to the original subject of the photograph, visible against the light.

Joan Fontcuberta  - Trauma Series

"This work analyses the material agony of photography.
 Its material deteriorates
generates a paradoxically 'amnesiac' 
photograph, one bereft of its memory. 
The symbolic immortality of photography 
therefore turns out to be false."
Joan Fontcuberta 

Prince Francesco Chigi Albani della Rovere 
silver salt gelatin stereoscopies on glass -1900-1920

Seen at the Press Conference
Chiara Squacina, Giorgia Pea, Joan Fontcuberta, Fabrizia Fabiani  
Carlo Birrozzi

Anna Zemella and Mara Vittori

 Elisa Chesini, Cristina Da Roit and Elisabetta Barisoni

Liselotte Hohs and Chiara Squarcina

Lorenzo Cinotti

Joan Fontcuberta  - Trauma #1882 - 2022

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