Joan Fontcuberta: Pin Zhuang
From November 16, 2004 to January 8, 2005, Zabriskie Gallery presents a photographic installation by the Spanish artist Joan Fontcuberta. Entitled Pin Zhuang, which is Chinese for "dismantled", "dismounted" or "puzzle," the series was inspired by the 2001 incident in which an American spy plane crashed on Chinese soil and—after extensive negotiations—was returned to the U.S. after being completely dismantled. Known for his propensity for challenging the assumption that photography reveals truth, Fontcuberta also questions scientific and political authority. In this work he has deliberately "mis-assembled" model planes according to random criteria and photographed the results flying through outer space.
The installation consists of ten digital prints and photographs of the model plane assemblages and six large-format color prints of them flying through space. A sculptural and digital film installation displays one of the model plane constructions. Three of the works are diptychs: one panel presents diagrams of the various steps for the correct assembly of the model plane. The other panel depicts the spacecraft gliding through extraterrestrial "spacescapes." The works continue Fontcuberta’s challenge to science’s historical claims to truth through imagination, artifice and humor.
The construction of Fontcuberta's "ready-made" assemblages is a symbolic gesture; although all the original parts are used in each construction, in the final product any sense of utility is absent. The technological device—a symbol of the spying eye of Western 'defense' programs—is ultimately rendered a non-functioning, "poetic sculpture" that pays tribute to both science fiction aesthetics and Constructivism as it hurtles, burns or glides through outer space. The work is inspired by the artists' wish to "activate the confrontation between authority and transgression, between order and dissidence, between rule and daring, between willingness and insubordination, between orthodoxy and invention, between discipline and liberty."
Joan Fontcuberta was born in 1955 in Barcelona, where he continues to live and work. He has exhibited extensively at museums and galleries in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and has been associated with Zabriskie Gallery since 1981. His work is in numerous institutions, including the New York Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He contributes regularly to scholarly journals and has published many books, including Sputnik and Twilight Zones.
There will be an opening reception Tuesday, November 16th. The artist will be present.