Joan Fontcuberta: Landscapes Without Memory
Essay by Geoffrey Batchen.
Joan Fontcuberta tries to put the “real” into Dalí's Surrealism. In this first major monograph to be published in the United States by one of Spain's most prominent and innovative artists, Fontcuberta subjects various imaginative landscapes--among them ones by Cézanne, Turner and Weston in addition to Dalí, as well as photographs of his own body--to the manipulation of landscape-rendering software originally designed for the military and scientific communities. The limited visual vocabulary of the programs translates contours (like floppy clocks) into natural elements such as hills, rivers, clouds and the like. The result, actually, looks far from real. As Fontcuberta says, “In a typically surrealistic caper, introducing the critical-paranoid method in the technological heart of the computer, Dalí's dreams become equally impossible landscapes.” And, he might have added, gorgeous black-and-white ones.