Joan Fontcuberta

The impossibility of truth, its subjectivity, and its elusive, schizophrenic nature inform Joan Fontcuberta’s extensive body of work. He has focused his investigation not only on the nature of artifice but also on its resulting formal appearance as well as its implied social and cultural corollary (kitsch taste as a popular phenomenon, Umberto Eco’s “mid cult” as the culture in-between—the loss of reference—and the impossibility of disassociating images from their natural contexts without creating new contexts, images, and meanings). In this respect, Fontcuberta’s post-Conceptual work, with its multilayered meanings, recalls the old rhetoric of art and its double, of plagiarism, and of the possibility of the fake as the real original—in short, the cultural legacy of our postindustrial condition.

In his latest show, entitled “Madonna Inn Majestic,” which was organized around two domestic spaces—a bedroom at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California, and the lobby of Barcelona’s Majestic Hotel—Fontcuberta juxtaposed objects with similar appearances but different natures. At the Madonna Inn Fontcuberta was impressed by the nightmarish rose wallpaper decorating room 162. He borrowed and recreated the pattern and juxtaposed it with a blown-up photograph of the room (from which the quote had been obtained) and with the hotel’s logo. White irises on a black background was the motif on the fabric upholstering the seats in the old Majestic Hotel, provoking the same tension between reality and artifice introduced in the bedroom.

Fontcuberta has extended his photographic analysis to three-dimensions, enriching his consideration of subjects such as the lack of conscience in the realm of kitsch taste and the nature of originality.

Anaxtu Zabalbeascoa