Controversy (2017)
in collaboration with Sam Weerdmeester

Now on show at
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp M HKA: Inbox
Leuvenstraat 32 - 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Runs until 27 August 2017

Controversy addresses the polemic of photojournalisms’ ethical credibility by engaging in the discussion surrounding Robert Capa’s Falling Soldier and confronting it with a scientific approach. Capa took his iconic photograph during the Spanish Civil War in 1936, capturing the very moment a soldier is shot in the head, making it one of the first images of war in action. The authenticity of this image has been questioned since its creation, although the story that accompanies it is simply too compelling to not be believed.

A recent study by professor José Manuel Susperregui, based on orographic analysis, indicates that this photograph was made elsewhere than Capa had originally claimed. This would place Capa far from the front lines, making it unlikely that the soldiers he was accompanying met any resistance, thus arguing that the photograph was staged.

Controversy is a registration of this newly defined location. A photomontage produced with scanning technology that is normally applied to the reproduction of paintings and rendered in an unusually high resolution with no interpolation. This approach paraphrases the empirical methodology of drawing conclusions from a vast amount of collected data.

Does a scientific debunking of a photographic icon ultimately change its meaning, or does its relevance surpass its authenticity? Controversy poses an aesthetic answer to this question.

Controversy (catalogue)
Max Pinckers & Sam Weerdmeester
Lyre Press, August 2017, Brussels
16 pages, edition of 750, 21 x 27,9 cm, price: €10
Written contributions by Lars Kwakkenbos, José Manuel Susperregui and Hans Durrer

Controversy was photographed while artists in residence at arteventura, Spain, June 2016. Max Pinckers is affiliated as a researcher to KASK / School of Arts of University College Ghent. This project is financed by the Arts Research Fund of University College Ghent and Mondriaan Fonds. This catalogue was produced on the occasion of the exhibition Controversy at M HKA - Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, August 2017.
Controversy exhibition catalogue
published by Lyre Press, 2017