On Sunday morning I went to South Kensington, hoping to go and see some exhibitions at the Natural History Museum, but there was a huge queue outside so I went to an exhibition in the Science Museum instead. The exhibition in question was Stranger than Fiction, created by the photographer and artist Joan Fontcuberta.
Fontcuberta subverts traditional ideas of photography as a medium of truth by crafting elaborate fictions that challenge our concept of reality versus fiction. I found the exhibition absolutely fascinating. It features six documentary narratives, each of which use photographs alongside journalism, diaries, museum displays and articles to develop the story.
The Fauna series looks at the lost archive of the mysterious Professor Peter Ameisenhaufen, who documented a large number of highly unusual creatures. The level of detail, imagination and level of detail that went into this work made it one of my favourites.
Herbarium looks at rare and unusual plant species, and there were several drawings of weird and wonderful flora. Orogenesis is made up of computer-generated geographical landscapes inspired by works of art, while Constellations consists of incredible images of starry skies.
Another of my favourites was Sirens, which purports to illustrate the discovery of mermaid fossils. The images were so realistic that I could almost believe they weren’t fiction. I also liked Karelia, which looks at Fontcuberta’s “exposure” of the fake miracles supposedly performed by monks in this monastery in Finland. This work was funnier than the others – the idea of performing a “weeping blood” miracle and hiring oneself out as a mourner at a funeral made me chuckle!
This exhibition was pretty unusual – “stranger than fiction”, you might say. Definitely worth a visit.