Joan Fontcuberta was born in 1955 in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. He received a degree in communications from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1977.
His early career was spent in advertising, but by the 1980s his interests had shifted towards the use of photography as evidence and a carrier of truth.
He has exhibited internationally, most recently at the National Media Museum in Bradford (2015), and La Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris (2014).
Fontcuberta’s work is held in museum collections throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Musée National d’Art Moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
As well as being an artist, Fontcuberta is also a writer, teacher and curator. He was artistic director of the 1996 Les Rencontres d’Arles Photographie and guest curator for the 2015 Month of Photography in Montreal.
Science & Friction
16 juni-28 augusti 2016
Since the mid-1970s Catalan conceptual artist Joan Fontcuberta has investigated photography’s authority and our inclination to believe what we see. In 2013 he won the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography for his constant examination and questioning of the photographic medium.
In his work Fontcuberta makes the point that photography is not an innocent medium, and that we need to be sceptical of images that influence our behaviour and way of thinking. This constant questioning about the authority and veracity of photography came from growing up under Spain’s fascist ruler, General Franco. A time when propaganda and censorship helped create a culture of mistrust.
In Herbarium (1982), photographs of non-existent plants are presented in a context of scientific research, together with books, illustrations and dry flowers. Herbarium refers explicitly to the German author Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932), who is considered one of the most accomplished exponents of New Objectivity and whose books Urformen der Kunst (Art Forms in Nature, 1928) and Wundergarten der Natur (Nature’s Garden of Wonder, 1932) carry out a rigorous scientific and botanical systematization, indebted to the ideas of 18th century Swedish naturalist Carl von Linné, without this ever having been their explicit purpose. Blossfeldt was a sculpture tutor and his intention was simply to show that, taken as a whole, the forms of Art Nouveau have their origin in the works of nature, particularly plants.
Herbarium makes use of these famous representations by Blossfeldt in order to propose a critical revision with artificial pseudo-plants, small and ephemeral assemblages built from industrial detritus, pieces of plastic, bones, parts of plants and all sorts of animals found by the artist as he roamed industrial sites on the outskirts of Barcelona.
The large-scale abstract photographic series Hemogrames is created without a camera. Instead Fontcuberta uses the object he wishes to represent as a negative. First he asks friends and strangers to provide him with a drop of their blood. Then using this ‘original’ as he would a colour slide, he makes a print from it. Each Hemograme is a blood map of the donor, and the joint series becomes a family portrait, the most intimate image of something that’s hard to recognize. A portrait with metaphorical references to intimate exchange, birth and death, sadness and passion, inheritance and identity. With his unique approach to portraiture, his relentless ‘objectivity’ and rigorous methodology, Fontcuberta proves that all blood is not of the same colour. The accompanying fingerprint in one of the images suggests forensic methodology and police methods that go back to Berthillon and the nineteenth century. It is a reminder that taking blood samples is another way of classifying humanity.
The idea for series Lactogramas came from a trip to Peru in 1998 when Fontcuberta discovered the ‘Glass of Milk’ movement. In a Peru devestated by a criminal political system, terrorist violence and extreme poverty, 59% of children suffered from malnutrition. The ‘Glass of Milk’ movement was initiated by mothers with the goal of providing children with a glass of milk a day. Lactogramas is a tribute to the mothers of the ‘Glass of milk’ movement, and Fontcuberta had nursing mothers deposing milk on a piece of clear plastic. Based on the same technical principles as Hemogramas, Fontcuberta printed images from the drops of milk.
Each one of these photographs could be a portrait. In some sense, they allow causality to come into play: we can associate each image with some attribute of the person they pertain. The result shows unique visual abstractions in which biology and photography, reveal the intense beauty that lies beyond conventional human perception.
AgNO3: Histories of Science and Photography in Sweden is about the use of photography in science and research during one century and a half; as a method, as evidence, as a scalpel, magnifying glass, mirror, and more. AgNO3, the chemical formula for silver nitrate, was used in photography right up until the digital era.
The exhibition consists of 12 rooms with 30 stories based on different scientific questions. For example: What a disease can look like, how an explorer charts white spots on the map, how dusty insect collections enjoy a renascence, how criminals should be pictured to be most easily recognized, how a housewife moves at the cooker, what types of cloud exist, why parachutes do not open, how to portray spruce trees or analyse the innermost structures of the brain.
Unlike most other photo exhibitions, text plays a significant role in AgNO3. The photographs in themselves are appropriately fascinating, but often they were taken in contexts and places that add a further dimension to the viewing. The visitor becomes acquainted not only with serious scientists in white coats but also with murderers and missionaries. Sometimes what is scientifically interesting in the pictures did not arise until our own times. For example, photographs of glaciers from the 1870s testify to the extent of today’s climate changes.
Some pictures provoke laughter, others sadness. As a whole the exhibition describes a remarkable and engaging journey, from naivety and curiosity in difficult conditions and severe hardships, to today’s controlled and ultramodern research environments. No exhibition like this has ever been shown in Sweden.
The exhibition is produced by Landskrona Museum/Landskrona Foto.
16 June 2016 – 29 January 2017
In the last two summers, Landskrona Foto has presented the photography and photographers of another country. The series started with Turkey, followed by the Czech Republic, and now in 2016 it is Ireland’s turn – not just the Republic of Ireland but the whole island, including Northern Ireland.
In this exhibition of photographic history we relate to the visual cliché of Ireland. The image that has stuck on picturesque postcards and in newspaper features, and probably also in many people’s minds.
The exhibition is being produced in collaboration with PhotoIreland, Belfast Exposed, Gallery of Photography Ireland and Culture Ireland. The curator of the exhibition is Jenny Lindhe in cooperation with Ángel Luis González, Trish Lambe, Tanya Kiang and Ciara Hickey.
30 June – 25 September 2016
Mårten Lange (b. 1984) is a Swedish photographer and artist whose work often deals with our need to structure and catalogue a complex world. Lange’s work consists of photographic series and books that explore nature, technology and science.
Another Language (2012) is a series of images of natural phenomena, isolated from their surroundings and photographed in a manner reminiscent of a scientific inventory. Through the repetitive aesthetics of these photographs, epic motives such as mountain peaks and waterfalls are exposed to the same level of scrutiny as pebbles and puddles.
Chicxulub (2016) is a depiction of the area around the Chicxulub crater in Mexico. The crater, created millions of years ago by an asteroid impact, is strongly implicated in the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. The images deal with how the downfall of one world can give rise to and sustain a new one. Flora and fauna intermingle with images of ruined Mayan cities and failed hotel construction projects.
Another Language & Chicxulub
19 August – 16 October 2016
FRIDA BRAIDE – OSCAR COLLIN – NORA ERIKSSON – MIA TJÄRNLUND – MAJA WILHELMSSON – NOEMI ROMBO ZETTERLUND
Till Rötterna (To the Roots) shows six selected works by graduating students from the three folk high schools in Skåne which have training programmes in photography: Fridhem, Munka and Östra Grevie.
Realistic and surrealistic works stand side by side in a study of what we regard as reality. We recognize the motifs even though they are unrecognizable. Methods such as macrophotography, photograms and image manipulation bring us closer to vanished galaxies and integrate body and object, among other things, in order to challenge our concept of normality and to show a world that we cannot otherwise see with our own eyes. Aesthetic expressions are in sharp contrast to the unpleasant character of some motifs. In a more classical documentary tradition, the pictures also show new aspects of meals and parenthood, perhaps the most basic things in our existence.
With this exhibition we also want to highlight photographers of the future, all of whom have studied at one of the three folk high schools.
Till Rötterna (To the Roots)
19-28 August 2016