Our societies today have created a new urban planet full of sprawling, interconnected megalopolises where only traces remain of the splendor, the fleeting memory of an earlier rural life, native to mother nature. We exist in the blink of an eye. We are short-lived and yet we are made powerful by our own genetic evolution. We believe we have invented ourselves, the masters of the World, distantly looking down on what is vegetable, animal, the cycles of nature, its miracles and accidents. Perhaps that is why we reject and try to forget the true biological clock of the living beings we are, our limits, far removed and unadapted to the pulse of the planet that has engendered us and taken us in.
Ever since 2009, I have added landscapes to my work as territories susceptible to taking in the last groups and individuals of humans who dwell in them, and who I sought to meet and make portraits of. The forest fires in the series Terre de personne accompanied some of the most isolated farmers on the Iberian Peninsula, as well as the decline of mining. The swamps in the South of the United States were the setting of what remained of William Faulkner’s universe in abandoned plantations where Bible Belt characters still live.
My sixth solo exhibition at the Juana de Aizpuru Gallery is basically composed of landscapes.
This time, however, it does not involve inhabited places, but quite the opposite: hard-to-reach places where I wanted to reach. The landscape, constructed as a metaphor for the trials and stages of life, mysterious lands of initiation, changeable and changing landscapes beneath hard, natural elements, rough and narrow to try to reach and sometime surpass…
I have traveled through virgin lands where nature expresses her primeval roots in the origins of the earth: rocks, coastlines, rivers and forests that may have given rise to mankind’s first contemplations, and which geologists come to study to learn more about our origins.
Territories that speak to us of the memory of the land, the footprint of its intrinsic essence, prehistoric petrified forests that point to lives that vanished long before humankind was born. Rivers, dead yet still unfordable, teeming with traces of minerals and quicksand. Deep-plunging coastal cliffs and crags where the sunlight never reaches.
Only a few portraits converse in silence with those spaces. The expression of men who have decided to live to pass through these rough lands, whether outwardly in the physical and in connection with animal life, or inwardly, dedicated to meditation. People, once again, far from the madding urban noise.
Pierre Gonnord. Madrid, September 2017.