Catalan artists Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera purport to have uncovered the archives of the brilliant, if obscure, German zoologist, Dr. Peter Ameisenhaufen. Between 1933 and 1950, Dr. Ameisenhaufen devoted himself to the study of little known hybrid creatures. His detailed scientific field observations are supported by extensive documentation, including photographs, journal notes, drawings, x-rays, audiotapes, and artifacts, all of which leave little doubt about the significance of the evidence presented.
In argument to Darwin’s theories we see Micostrium Vulgaris, a swamp dwelling, clam-like creature with protruding seemingly human arms. It uses its opposing grip to wield sticks by which it clubs its prey to death. The Cercopithecus lcarocornu, or winged unicorn monkey, attacks in air and spears its prey on its horn. The Solenoglypha Polipodida makes evident a u-turn in evolution between the bird and the reptile--this snake-like creature supports six pair of webbed duck-like feet.
This collaboration between Fontcuberta, who made the photographs and Formiguera, who was responsible for the pseudo-scientific note cards, drawings, maps, audiotapes, and specimens, is a photo-conceptual narrative work, convincing in every detail. Fauna directly questions issues of authenticity, appropriation and simulation but implies broader concerns of historicity, revisionism, and the notion of scientific objectivity. Dr. Ameisenhaufen’s heritage and supposed era impugns Hilter’s theories of racial purity and also those tenets of the modern church and others who still refuse to acknowledge Darwin.
Joan Fontcuberta was born in 1955 in Barcelona, Spain. He studied at the University of Barcelona where he received a Masters Degree in Communications in 1978. In the last decade he has exhibited his photographic works extensively throughout Europe and the United States and been collected by many museums. His book Herbarium, 1985, presented plant-like constructions made of organic and inorganic material in the style of the German photographer, Karl Blossfeldt.
Pere Formiguera, born in 1952 in Barcelona, attended the University of Barcelona, where he received an M.F.A. in 1971. His photographic works have been exhibited and collected throughout Europe and the United States.
NUMBER OF WORKS: 80 works covering 16 different species
TOUR DATES: September 1991 - December 1991
SUPPORT MATERIALS: Publication, European Photography, 1988