Joan Fontcuberta. Cultura di polvere
Venice, Fortuny Museum
24 January – 10 March, 2024 *Extended to 25 March, 2024
Curated by Francesca Fabiani
In collaboration with ICCD – Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione di Roma
In 2024 Palazzo Fortuny renews its exhibition programme of contemporary photography by presenting one of its most important exponents, Joan Fontcuberta (Barcelona, 1955). An artist with a multidisciplinary activity, 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.
The exhibition Cultura di polvere is part of a larger project, the programme ICCD Artists in Residence, which every year involves the presence of a photographer commissioned to engage in a dialogue with the Institute’s collections. It is the latest step in Fontcuberta’s long documentary and aesthetic research into photographic materials.
At the ICCD, the Catalan artist has chosen to deal with some deteriorated materials, focusing in particular on a series of glass plates from the fonds of Francesco Chigi (1881-1953), reinterpreted by starting from the forms that time has created on their surfaces. In this way he questions both the photographic object itself and the subject represented. Affected by moulds, cracks and bacteria, it is transformed into a new landscape, unexpected and fascinating. The result is a series of photographs that emerge from the encounter between the physical concreteness of the material and Fontcuberta’s visionary character. These markedly original and powerful images are enhanced by the mode of display and specifically the use of light boxes.
In the space on the ground floor of Palazzo Fortuny, with its interior notable for the absence of light, a series of large backlit photographs emerge like apparitions, epiphanies of vaguely familiar yet unlikely landscapes. The setting and mode of display of the works favour the fully immersive character of the visit.
On display will be 12 works by the photographer together with some photographic plates on gelatin-coated glass from the early 20th century in the Chigi Fonds, the starting point of Fontcuberta’s work.
Image: Joan Fontcuberta. Cultura di polvere – Trauma #3227, light box 100×150 cm, 2022 – © ICCD Roma