Joan Fontcuberta

(Barcelona, 1955)

Sputnik, 1997


This project is a parody, an action of informative intoxication that calls attention to the dangers of credulity. Here, the artist becomes a journalist in order to tell the supposed history of the first initiative of the Foundation Sputnik (organization created for the rehabilitation of historical memory and the dissemination of the Soviet space program): the tragedy of the astronaut Ivan Istochnikov (the closest Russian translation of Joan Fontcuberta), lost in space under strange circumstances. In order to give the story authenticity, the artist incorporates a large number of historical documents.


Se trata de una intervención paródica, una acción de intoxicación informativa que sirve para llamar la atención sobre los peligros de la credulidad. Aquí, el artista se convierte en cronista para contar la supuesta historia de la primera iniciativa de la Fundación Sputnik (organismo creado para rehabilitar la memoria histórica y divulgar el programa espacial soviético): la tragedia del cosmonauta Ivan Istochnikov (la traducción más aproximada al ruso de Joan Fontcuberta), perdido en el espacio en extrañas circunstancias. Para dotar a la historia de autenticidad, el artista recurre a una gran cantidad de documentos históricos

Sputnik: Official portrait of the astronaut Ivan Istochnikov, 1997 Black and white photograph. 30 x 40 cm.

the same manipulated image as it was published in the encyclopedia “Bound for the Stars” by Boris Romanenko. 30 x 40 cm

Original photograph sold by Sotheby’s in New York on December 11th, 1993. It is dated on November 7th, 1967 and signed, from left to right, by Leonov, Nikolayev, Istochnikov, Rozhdestvensky, Beregovoi and Shatalov.

Sputnik: Kids acclaiming the astronaut Istchnikov in the orphanage Kids of the Revolution in Minsk, 1997 Black and white photograph. 30 x 40 cm.

The Soyuz 2 goes through the dense layers of the stratosphere

Installation view of the exhbition held at the Virreina Image Centre, Barcelona, 2008