Joan Fontcuberta. Trauma

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Joan Fontcuberta. Trauma
Joan Fontcuberta. Trauma

These days the Àngels Barcelona gallery has been looking like a kind of graveyard for photographs where 15 agonizing, dying snapshots are displayed, seemingly just a step away from the image disappearing completely. Photographs, says the artist Joan Fontcuberta, are born, grow, reproduce and die. The father of the manifesto on post photography now poses the question, 'What remains of the photo when all that's left are the residues, some chemical spots sensitive to light?' 

The result is a small selection of pieces in a 'state of trauma', extracted from the Photographic Archive of Barcelona. Some are enlarged and printed on paper, like the one of the girl at her first communion with her face disfigured by humidity, giving off a ghostly air; or the happy couple that has (so far) put up a resistance to a stain that threatens part of the scene. There are also damaged original plates and some transformed in light boxes, where the wounds are sinuous lines of a new composition. All the works are anonymous and have no date on them, except one that's practically black, signed by its artist in the '70s – proof that nothing escapes time and the effects of chemistry.

Just one 'but': 'Trauma' is like a dish of nouvelle cuisine – it's delicious, but you're finished in one bite. The idea behind the exhibition is intriguing, so you'd expect a more extensive sample for this showing of visual archeology, with multiple works that exemplify the different stages of a 'sick' photo. That said, who can resist a delicacy, however small?

By: Aina Mercader

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