The work of Spanish photographer and conceptual artist Joan Fontcuberta, born 1955, confronts a pseudo-scientific approach to a highly aestheticized pictorial technique. His photos and installations document the results of an imaginary biological or historical research with fake animal species or freaks out of a cabinet of curiosity – like in the 1980 boardgame Quirks. In a way, he applies to photography the same processes as Gregory Whitehead applied to language – focusing on dereliction, combining opposites and applying a distancing effect. Fontcuberta had been showing his work in art galleries since the early 1980s when he sat up this exhibition, held at Centre d’Art Santa Mònica gallery in Barcelona in 1990. Titled El Jardi de les Delicies, or The Garden of Earthly Delights, it was an installation of photographs, stuffed animals, slide projection and sound. The 20pp catalogue came with a 7-inch record by Das Synthetische Mischgewebe, then based in Barcelona and comprising Isabelle Chemin, Guido Hübner and Carlos Jovellar for this project.
♫ As the El Jardi de les Delicies exhibition included a number of frottograms, that is, negative Polaroid films rubbed against the actual object/animal represented on the film, the Das Synthetische Mischgewebe trio have recorded the rather physical process and came out with an immediate, vivid composition they called “frotto/fonos”, as they also presumably actually rubbed the microphone on stuffed animals or a serpent’s skin. Between noise and musique concrète, their soundtrack deliciously sounds like a microphone searching its way inside a fox’s earth!
01 The Growing (1:30)
02 Of the Results (3:27)
03 Into the State (3:41)
04 Of Hyperreality (1:21)
Total time 9:59
Catalogue+7inch record released by Generalitat de Catalunya and Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona, Spain, 1990