In 1985, Joan Fontcuberta and the writer Pere Formiguera found the lost archives of the German zoologist Peter Ameisenhaufen – born in Munich in 1895 and mysteriously disappeared in 1955 – and his assistant Hans von Kubert.
Ameisenhaufen, during the researches he carried out all his life, discovered fantastic and rare animals, such as the Ceropithecus icarocornu, similar to a monkey but with a frontal horn and wings, sacred animal of the Nygala-Tebo natives, for whom it represents the reincarnation of Ahzran (he who comes from paradise); or even the infamous Solenoglypha Polipodida, a twelve-legged viper, extremely aggressive and poisonous, which hunts for food or even for the simple pleasure of killing, preferring for its attacks the moment in which its preys perform the physiological function of defecation.
Fauna features photographs of the animals inventoried by the zoologist at highlights of their activities, meticulous field studies, and notes of the scientist’s work, as well as radiographs and skeleton dissections.
A useful tool for enthusiasts of the most incredible animal species, then, or a fiction of exceptional scientific and epistemological credibility?
Fauna, fitting perfectly within Fontcuberta’s artistic career, creates a wonderful artifact to question the authority of scientific discourse and the little, if any, neutrality of the photographic image.
When the installation was first shown in 1989 at the Museum of Zoology in Barcelona, a survey conducted by its Department of Education revealed that 27% of graduated visitors, once having seen the work of the two artists, believed that animals really existed in nature.
1st rare edition