Lumache e altri animali d’artista: il ruolo dell’autore nell’opera di Joan Fontcuberta

Camilla Federica Ferrario

The animal kingdom has been a constant presence throughout Joan Fontcuberta’s career. A strong interest in natural history museums and zoological gardens appeared in his first photographs in the 1970s, and then exploded starting from the following decade in series such as Fauna and Safari, in which, between curious hybridizations and staging, the animals were often protagonists of his well-known mystifications to deceive the public, or as Frottograms, in which they were used to question the traditional idea of photographic index. Animals then found themselves actively collaborating with Fontcuberta in the most recent project Gastropoda, in which, by delegating the creative act to snails, the artist seemed to want to question the traditional notion of authorship. The article therefore reconstructs the multiform animal presence in all of Fontcuberta’s work, to then analyze through it – with constant reference to his bibliography – his positions regarding the role of the author in the contemporary post-photographic society, also opening up to a series of further interdisciplinary reflections in the fields of art, photography and visual culture.