Joan Fontcuberta – 2013 Hasselblad Award Winner

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Hasselblad Foundation

The Hasselblad Foundation is pleased to announce that Catalan photographer Joan Fontcuberta is the recipient of the 2013 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography for the sum of SEK 1,000,000 (approximately EUR 110,000). The award ceremony will take place in Barcelona on 7thMarch, 2013. An exhibition of his work, Joan Fontcuberta – 2013 Hasselblad Award Winner will open on 25th October, 2013 at the Hasselblad Center at the Gothenburg Museum of Art, Sweden. That day, The Hasselblad Foundation will host a symposium with the award winner, and a book on the work of Joan Fontcuberta, published by Mack, will be launched.

The Foundation’s citation regarding the decision to award the 2013 prize to Joan Fontcuberta reads as follows:

Joan Fontcuberta is one of the most inventive contemporary photographers, with an over 30-year achievement of constantly investigating and questioning the photographic medium. His work is distinguished by original and playful conceptual approaches that particularly explore photographic conventions, means of representation and claims to truth. He challenges concepts of science and fiction in interdisciplinary projects that extend far beyond the gallery space. In addition to his photographic practice, Joan Fontcuberta’s capacities as a writer, teacher and curator have been greatly inspirational to the younger generation.

This year’s award committee, which submitted its proposal to the Foundation’s board of directors, consisted of:

Ute Eskildsen (chair), Professor – Head of the Department of Photography, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany until 2012.
Thomas Joshua Cooper, Professor, Photography Department, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Great Britain.
Marcel Feil, Deputy-Director, Artistic Affairs, Foam Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Agnès Sire, Director, Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris, France.

Joan Fontcuberta (born 1955 in Barcelona, Spain) is well known as a conceptual photographer, and he is also active as a writer, editor, curator and teacher. He has had a powerful influence on attracting international recognition of the history of Spanish photography.

Joan Fontcuberta received a degree in communication from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1977. After having worked in advertising, he taught at the faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona from 1979 to 1986. In 1980 he co-founded the magazine PHOTO VISION, which became an important European photography journal. Since 1993 he has been Professor of Audiovisual Communication at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Joan Fontcuberta has an impressive list of exhibitions and publications; he has taught at numerous institutions, including Harvard University, USA, and in 1994 he was awarded the “Chevalier des Art et Lettre“ by the French Minister of Culture.

Joan Fontcuberta is an artist who works between ‘reality’ and ‘fiction,’ by manufacturing photographic illusions loosely based on ‘the real’. He creates a visual universe in which concepts of truth and fiction are intertwined. This dialogue, however, is never brought to a concrete conclusion but remains elusive. In many ways Joan Fontcuberta’s work both anticipates and integrates the radical impact of digital manipulation in the field of current photographic practice.

Since the mid-1980s he has used photography to reflect doubts and distrust of the authorities as well as of the veracity of photography itself and the multitude of media that it relates to. What makes Joan Fontcuberta’s work so engaging is the biting humour, sharp wit and seamless technique with which he infuses all of his elaborate provocations.

Joan Fontcuberta’s work undermines mass media in all of its guises, scientific investigations, technological breakthroughs, the art world, religion, medicine and of course, political and governmental propaganda. He mixes all the forms of media and public communication. In essence, he creates bodies of work that resemble a modern-day Trojan horse, and then presents it in scholarly journals, hardbound‚ scientific books, large scale museums exhibitions, and as newsworthy discoveries that dupe even the most professional experts and journalists as well as their readers.

With irony as an important artistic strategy Joan Fontucuberta continues to amaze, confound and amuse or provoke the viewer with an ever-evolving array of techniques and approaches. His topics as and his focus on recent technologies and his constant changes of method characterize him as an exceptional photographer and artist.

The Hasselblad Foundation

The Hasselblad Foundation was established in 1979 under the terms of the last will and testament of Dr. Victor Hasselblad and his wife Erna. The purpose of the Foundation is to promote scientific education and research in the natural sciences and photography. One of the Foundation’s awards, the annual international award for outstanding achievement in photography, awarded in 2013 to Joan Fontcuberta, is considered the most important photography prize worldwide.

In the exhibition hall of the Hasselblad Foundation, the Hasselblad Center, situated in the Gothenburg Museum of Art, five exhibitions are presented annually, one of which displays works by that year’s Hasselblad Award winner. One of the other annual exhibitions, New Nordic Photography, promotes younger photographers. Some of the exhibitions tour in Sweden and abroad. The Foundation also has a photo collection focusing on Hasselblad Award Winners and Nordic photographers.

The exhibition of Joan Fontcuberta’s works will be opened at the Hasselblad Center on 25th October, 2013 and will be curated by Dragana Vujanovic and Louise Wolthers.

Gothenburg, Sweden 7th March, 2013


Ekmansgatan 8

SE-412 56 Gothenburg, Sweden

Phone +46 31-778

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