After much deliberation and at least 8 exhibitions visited in the last few weeks I have settled on a brilliant surreal show by the artist Joan Fontcuberta at the science museum in London to make the subject for my essay. The show was called ‘Stranger than Fiction’ and comprised of a wonderful cacophony of images and sculptures by this celebrated artist.
The overall theme of this exhibition was ‘fakery’ in that all the exhibits were created by the artist and although bore a resemblance to nature, whether it be animals, plants, landscapes or miracles performed by a priest, they were all manufactured.
The opening exhibits were entitled ‘Strange Creatures’ and appropriately so. If you could image a world where the basic laws of nature went wild then the resulting creatures inhabiting this imaginary landscape would be those created by Fontcuberta. Using animals immortalised by taxidermy he has blended parts of one animal to another, sometimes unrelated species, to create a brand new ‘almost’ believable creature. From a strange six limbed baboon / dear mix to a weird furry two legged body / turtle headed animal with the imaginary scientific name of “Alopex Stultus” the exhibition was a delight.
Not just satisfied with creating a strange zoo of animals Fontcuberta added to his illusion by crafting a story of found archives, aged note books, faded photographs to convince the sceptical that his collection was somehow real.