An artist, theorist and teacher, Joan Fontcuberta is a graduate in Information Science and lives and works in both Barcelona and Canada. He was drawn to photography from the age of 15, and soon joined the Agrupació Fotogràfica de Catalunya. Interested in the theory of photography, he has written articles and critical reviews for specialist magazines such as Nueva lente (from 1974 to 1978), for example, and created the weekly column entitled Art de la llum in El Correo Catalán in 1977.
His first works – produced in 1974 using technological resources such as photomontage and other manipulation techniques – question the conventionally-accepted veracity in the photographic image and in information in general, a premise he would maintain throughout his career. In 1976 he established himself as a professional photographer, specialising in works for art galleries; from then on, his work evolved towards more reflexive, conceptual positions, parodying facets of the knowledge of nature and of the history of art with a keen sense of humour, analysing issues such as representation, knowledge or ambiguity, for instance.
A specialist in the history of Spanish photography in the 20th century, he combines his artistic work with teaching, as well as working as an exhibition curator and publishing books on the history, aesthetics and pedagogy of photography. Thus, although he produces his projects in the photographic medium, creating them on the basis of manipulation and decontextualization of the image generated, his works go beyond that which is visible, continuing with his line of research on the possibilities and limits of the medium.
A Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Ministry of Culture, France, 1994), he won the UK Year of Photography and Electronic Image Grant Award (1997), the Premio Nacional de Fotografía (1998), the Premio Nacional de Ensayo (2011) and the Hasselblad International Photography Award (2013).
Co-founder of the former Primavera Fotográfica (Photographic Spring) of Barcelona in 1982, of the numerous exhibitions mounted for his work the following are perhaps the most outstanding: Galería Spectrum (Barcelona, 1974), New York Museum of Modern Art (1988), Centre d’Art Santa Mónica (Barcelona, 1990, 2001), Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (Valencia, 1992), Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao (1994), Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (Barcelona, 1999), Museo Picasso Málaga (2003), Artium de Álava (Vitoria, 2003), Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca (2007). His work forms part of the collections of Spanish and foreign museums, such as: Artium de Álava (Vitoria), Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (Barcelona), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (Valencia), Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Musée National d’Art Moderne (Paris) and Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris).