FE 2015

Un progetto del Comune di Reggio nell'Emilia
Comune di Reggio Emilia – Città delle persone

  • Fauna: Micostrium vulgaris, senza data. Photo by Hans von Kubert
    Fauna: Micostrium vulgaris, senza data. Photo by Hans von Kubert
  • Fauna: Felis penatus, circa 1930 Photo by Hans von Kubert
    Fauna: Felis penatus, circa 1930 Photo by Hans von Kubert
  • Fauna: Centauris Neardentalensis, senza data Photo by Hans von Kubert
    Fauna: Centauris Neardentalensis, senza data Photo by Hans von Kubert
  • Herbarium: Giliandria escoliforcia, 1984
    Herbarium: Giliandria escoliforcia, 1984

Joan Fontcuberta, Fauna Secreta

Carte Blanche in Lazzaro Spallanzani’s collection


Joan Fontcuberta’s photography combines reality and fiction, and this project he is devoting to the Spallanzani Collection continues in this spirit.

His inquiring eye throws new light on the photographs and documents contained in the Spallanzani Collection.

The artist points out that the work is based on the studies conducted by Professor Peter Ameisenhaufen on Italy’s fauna, particularly in the Apennines and Sicily, during his expeditions in 1930s. Ameisenhaufen was fascinated by the work carried out by his predecessors Ulisse Aldrovandi and the scientist from Reggio Emilia Lazzaro Spallanzani. He was particularly enthusiastic about Spallanzani’s study of the ‘Knitted Trunk Fish’ (Ostracion Concatenatus), the only example of which still in existence today, so important as to have been visited by Charles Darwin, is in the Fish Collection displayed in the cabinets of the City Museums of Reggio Emilia. Dr Chiarelli entrusted part of the inheritance of his friend Ameisenhaufen to our museum, and now, thanks to the selection made by Fontcuberta, some of those images can be seen interacting creatively with other items in the collection.


Joan Fontcuberta was born in February 24, 1955, in Barcelona, where he lives and works. He studied Communications at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (1972-77) and later worked in advertising, journalism and as a university professor in Fine Arts. Since 1974, he has devoted himself to the visual arts, developing his creative work together with a wide range of criticism, theoretical, curatorial and lecturing activity.

Both his artistic and theoretical activity focus on issues of representation, knowledge, memory, science, truthfulness, ambiguity and trompe-l’œil, exploring the documentary and the narrative in photographic images and related media. Among the books containing his work several have been internationally awarded: Herbarium (1985), Fauna (1988), Sputnik (1997). More recent publications, such as Landscapes without Memory(2005), Googlegrams(2005) and Through the Looking Glass (2010) explore intersections of photography and digital imaging. He has authored or edited a dozen of books on aspects of the history, aesthetics and pedagogy of photography.


He has received solo shows in the most important museums in the world such as MoMA (NY, 1988), the Art Institute (Chicago, 1990) and his artwork has been collected by numerous museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), San Francisco MoMA, Musée National d’Art Contemporain – Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam) and others.


Sunday, May 17


10am_Teatro Cavallerizza


The authoriality of the artist in the post-photography: Joan Fontcuberta with Elio Grazioli. Introduced by Michele Smargiassi.

Book signing to follow


2pm_Palazzo dei Musei

Exhibition Gastropoda and Fauna Secreta guided tour with the artist Joan Fontcuberta

exhibition venue

Palazzo dei Musei
via Spallanzani, 1
42121 Reggio Emilia


opening hours

• during the inaugural days
05/15 › 7pm - midnight
05/16 › 10am - midnight
05/17 › 10am - midnight
• from May 22 to July 26 the exhibits are open from friday to sunday
Friday › 4pm-11pm
Saturday › 10am-11pm
Sunday and holidays › 10am-8pm
the exhibits are open also during the regular opening time of the museum: www.musei.re.it


Palazzo dei Musei