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Joan Fontcuberta: Landscapes Without Memory [Hardcover]

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Item description for Joan Fontcuberta: Landscapes Without Memory by Lesley Martin Geoffrey Batchen...

Joan Fontcuberta tries to put the "real" in Dal''s surrealism. In this first major monograph to be published in the United States by one of Spain's most prominent and innovative artists, Fontcuberta subjects various imaginative landscapes--among them ones by Cezanne, Turner, and Weston in addition to Dal', as well as photographs of his own body--to the manipulation of landscape-rendering software originally designed for the military and scientific communities. The limited visual vocabulary of the programs translates contours (like floppy clocks) into natural elements such as hills, rivers, clouds, and the like. The result, actually, looks far from real. As Fontcuberta says, "In a typically surrealistic caper, introducing the critical-paranoid method in the technological heart of the computer, Dal''s dreams become equally impossible landscapes." And, he might have added, gorgeous black-and-white ones.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   96
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 12" Width: 8.8" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   1.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 15, 2005
Publisher   Aperture
ISBN  1931788790  
ISBN13  9781931788793  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Color
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What was that? An undergraduate paper?  Dec 21, 2005
It is unfathomable to me that someone so entirely untrained in the appreciation or analysis of 20th c. art was allowed to review this book for Publishers Weekly (Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.) It is little wonder that the reviewer was too ashamed to sign his/her own name. I don't believe that I have ever read a less-reasoned, more personal attack outside of a pro-Bush anti-"liberal media" Op-Ed piece! Is this the type of review Publisher's Weekly is enlisted to provide? A mere venue to allow uninformed writers to vent their personal hostilities towards works they personally find distasteful or simply don't understand?

The first warning sign is that Caspar David Friedrich's "Wanderer in a Sea of Fog [sic]" (I mean, after all, if he was "in" the fog we couldn't see him could we?!) is characterized as a "depiction of a man trying to have a little quiet time in the mountains". Geez! The writer clearly does not understand the importance of the category of the Sublime for German Romantic painters, following from Kant's observations, and the examination of the place of the individual in Nature. Friedrich's "Wanderer" wasn't just hanging out at the KOA campground before he had to go back to the office!

Certainly the appreciation of artwork(s) is/are subjective--not everyone is aesthetically moved by the same works and/or artistic visions, but there *is* such a thing as reasoned critical analysis that doesn't just launch into full blown ad hominem (ad arte) attack! What kind of "Rape of the Masters" belief in the nature of art has to be blindly accepted such that it can be "ruined" by being referenced in another artist's work/vision? Can Friedrich's painting really be "ruined" by Fontcuberta? Is a hole being poked in its "aura"? What a priori judgment determines the truth of the proposition, "Computer Art Bad. Thomas Kincade Good"?

As if that is not enough, it then turns into a "class" argument! Invectives are flung at "Wealthy nerds" (to have "their own Thomas Kincade")! I am a student, living in a garrett on a meager stipend, in the winter the room is drafty and I have no heat. I do not own a car. I ride my bike everywhere I need to go. That said, the last time I checked I could easily afford this Phaidon 55 book, but could never begin to afford (even should I ever want to), the 1,000-30,000 dollar, DNA-infused, mechanically reproduced and lightly-respackled paintings by Monsieur Kincade, "Painter of Light"!

I'll admit that Fontcuberta is far far far from my favorite artist, although I think some of his 80s work like the cryptozoology installations and the false-scientific documentary work was interesting. I have no desire to personally run out and buy this book. But I am completely flabberghasted that this review was found to be acceptable as a review of the book. I grade over 200 undergraduate papers on art a year, and if any of them based their arguments on their personal distaste for the art, they would receive an "F".

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