“THERE ARE MIRRORS WHOSE MIRACLE ISN’T THE TRUTH”
FONTCUBERTA, Joan and FORMIGUERA, Pere. Fauna Secreta. Madrid [Barcelona]: Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, (1989). Slim quarto, original stiff photographic paper wrappers. $1400.
Museum catalogue of Fontcuberta and Formiguera’s whimsical exhibit purportedly documenting the elusive Dr. Ameisenhaufen’s “veritable bestiary of strangely mutated beasts” (Parr & Badger).
Conceptual artist Joan Fontcuberta has "succeeded famously" (Roth, 262) in challenging the authority of "the photographic medium with both a skeptical and a culturally diverse eye" (Parr & Badger II:68). Fauna Secreta, a revision of the earlier Fauna (1988), exhibits the same whimsy in which "contradiction, playfulness, conflict and the possible, form the territory on which Fontcuberta's works are situated" (Gallery 51). Here Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera further document the supposed "'discovery' in Glasgow of the archive of the German scientist Dr. Peter Ameisenhaufen," offering evidence of "a veritable bestiary of strangely mutated beasts in remote corners of the world… so convincingly that we are almost persuaded of its veracity even while enjoying the joke" (Parr & Badger II:68). Their fictions "effectively (and often hilariously) call the conventions of photographic believability into question" (Roth, 262). Yet this "not simply a spoof, a bit of fun; it is done with great authenticity, and it is this that ensures both the aesthetic interest of the photographs and the seriousness of the point" being made (Parr & Badger II:68). Fontcuberta cautions, "There are mirrors whose miracle isn't the truth, but fantasy, illusion." Scarce catalogue for the traveling exhibit of Fauna Secreta, here accompanying the March-June installation at Madrid's Museo Nacionale de Ciencias Naturales. Text in Spanish, with appendix in English. Roth, 265. See Open Book, 342.
A fine copy.