Joan Fontcuberta Googlegrams
January 31, 2006 - March 11, 2006
Googlegram 7: Tsunami, 2005
47-1/4 x 63 inches
February 08, 2006
Paul Laster talks with — a celebrated Spanish artist, curator, editor, and scholar — about a celebrated Spanish artist, curator, editor, and scholar, about his imaginative photographic work, currently on view in New York and represented by several galleries at ARCO '06.
AK: You presently have two New York shows displaying two distinct bodies of work: (the Orogenesis series) at the Aperture Gallery and at Zabriskie Gallery. How are these two series related, and how do they fit into your overall body of work?
JF: I do not come from a traditional fine arts background but from semiotics, the theory of information and communications. I even worked in advertising and journalism. Thus, all of my work is about representation, information, translation, codes, and so on. Truth is a more seminal question for me than aesthetics. Both the Orogenesis and the Googlegrams series deal with interpretation and tend to prove that truth is just an ideological convention. There is no truth, only the transferral of experience, points of view, and power.
AK: The Orogenesis series presents vivid digital landscapes made from scans of historical artworks such as a or , as well as parts of the human body, including an eye, hand, navel, tongue, and ear. How did you make these complex works, and what do they add to a philosophical dialogue about art?
JF: Computers have taken over many human activities, for instance, graphic illustration. Computers can generate and match the visual experience that we used to call photography, and cameras have become obsolete optical devices. For the Orogenesis series, I used a very simple 3-D scenery renderer called , which decodes cartographic data with convincingly photorealistic results. However, I fooled the computer by inputting not a map but an already existing landscape picture — a masterpiece in the history of painting or photography. The statement is that landscape is no longer based on the straight experience of nature but on the experience of previous images, say, on the experience of art. Thus, art and visual culture in general appear to embody our models to approach reality.