Lead

The Miracle of Dolphin Surfing, 2002, Joan Fontcuberta © Joan Fontcuberta (detail)

Work / Exhibition

Strange new show imagines snakes with legs and a dolphin-surfing priest

I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking; “How on earth did that priest train a dolphin to carry him like that?” Or maybe you’re thinking; “Where did the photographer have to stand to capture that image?” Or perhaps, in fact, you’re thinking; “This HAS to be fake.” But all of these lines of inquiry are valid in the world of Joan Fontcuberta, the Spanish artist and photographer who’s latest exhibition has just landed at The Science Museum’s Media Space.

His new show Stranger Than Fiction demonstrates a complex personal mythology that treads a fine line between fiction and reality, blending outlandish taxidermy, forged documents and staged photographs with sculptural works that resemble archeological excavations and fake skeletons. His mission is simple; to question the reliability of photography and the fallibility of our own perceptions while building an alternative scientific history to a mythological world – also he’s just having a bit of fun creating mermaid skeletons and snakes with legs. Definitely one to check out, although you’ll definitely be disappointed that the winged unicorn monkey doesn’t actually exist.

Centaurus-neandertalensis-2-from-the-fauna-series-by-joan-fontcuberta-and-pere-formiguera_-1987-%c2%a9-joan-fontcuberta-_-pere-formiguera

Centaurus Neandertalensis from the Fauna series by Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera, 1987 © Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera

Centaurus-neandertalensis-from-the-fauna-series-by-joan-fontcuberta-and-pere-formiguera_-1987-%c2%a9-joan-fontcuberta-and-pere-formiguera

Centaurus Neandertalensis from the Fauna series by Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera, 1987 © Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera

Cercophitecus-icarocornu-from-the-fauna-series-by-joan-fontcuberta-and-pere-formiguera_-1987-%c2%a9-joan-fontcuberta-and-pere-formiguera

Cercophitecus Icarocornu from the Fauna series by Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera, 1985 © Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera

Solenoglypha-polipodida-from-the-fauna-series-by-joan-fontcuberta-and-pere-formiguera_-1987-%c2%a9-joan-fontcuberta-and-pere-formiguera

Solenoglypha Polipodida from the Fauna series by Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera, 1987 © Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera

Fauna---des-monstres-et-des-prodiges_-mus%c3%a9e-ch%c3%a2teau_-annecy_-february-may-2008-%c2%a9-joan-fontcuberta

Des monstres et des prodiges, Musée-Château, Annecy, February-May 2008
© Joan Fontcuberta

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Hydropithecus of Cerro de San Vicente, 2006 from the Sirens series by Joan Fontcuberta
© Joan Fontcuberta

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Sirena de Tanaron from the Sirens series by Joan Fontcuberta © Joan Fontcuberta