9 November 2014 Palacio Hernando de Ovando - Foro Sur

GAIA, exhibition by guest artist Pierre Gonnord
25 October -9 November 2014
Palacio Hernando de Ovando
Directorate-General of Cultural Heritage
Individuals, groups and clans who live on and with the Earth, following the forces of nature and accepting it as an age-old element
intrinsic to all living creatures, both humans and animals. The Earth nourishes us. It provides energy, strength and roots. If we move
away from it in search of other experiences, we lose contact with it and alter the essence of our relationships with others and with
In Greek mythology, Gaia (Γαîα) was the goddess of the Earth, an ancient primal deity viewed as the mother of all existence, a firm
ground on which to walk, and a safe support to hang on to.
Pierre Gonnord knows the Earth. He lives with it, he understands it and he respects it. His works speak of life and are in themselves
life. One of his most intense engagements over recent years has been in La Raya/A Raia, the physical boundary between Spain and
Portugal, where customs and habits mix together while maintaining the idiosyncrasy of each cultural group. Here he has forged
deeply-felt relationships with gypsy clans and the peasants working the land. Life in the open air and in communion with the land is
reflected in their faces, mapped by the experience of lives lived intensely in a kind of transhumance between border territories.
Rui, Rogiero, Jasón, Basilisa, Aquiles, Filomena... and so many others live on these physical and personal boundaries, opting for
freedom and the hardships that come with rejecting social conventions. They are anonymous heroes in our history, in our
evolution. Without them we would not be complete. They are another part of today’s world, contradictory yet alive. They are
among the last humans and animals who take care of the Earth, who sleep and breathe on it, who work with and contemplate it.
They come and go, crossing from one bank to the other of the Guadiana and the Tajus rivers, and from north to south, from Tras os
Montes to Alentejo in Portugal, rambling through millenarian territories, etching out new spaces with their footprints, like the
transhumance of cattle to pasturelands in Extremadura in search of grazing and heat. An everyday act becomes a singular,
individual way of life, different in each stop along the way and in each different landscape. Personal bonds bind the group together
as it moves in search of water and food, of shelter and a roof over its head, placing its trust in highly-developed instinct, honed by
nature itself.
Keeping alive a set of values which have been lost in the human agglomerations of big cities, these people are living proof of
ancient customs, of life revolving around fire, water and natural elements. Their faces and gestures are oracles of wisdom, marked
by true experience: motherhood, raising families, farming... In short, life and death as part of the eternal cycle of fertility and
Animals, nature and human faces... Mother Earth sustains everything, she provides everything. When looking at ourselves again in
the works of Gonnord, we begin to feel our heart once more, opening up to the human and divine, to nature and the supernatural
dimension that is to be found in people, in animals and in nature, just like in the ancient Greek myth of Gaia. They are myths of
today, in which we see ourselves reflected and we go through a myriad of feelings and emotions, some perceived and other
intuited. The images we contemplate now in this exhibition called Gaia transport us to a mythological force to which we are always
connected. If we try to shake it off, like the goddess herself tried to do with the sky represented by Uranus, we will also be casting
off meaning, and the roots and strength with which we are born. We can learn from her, letting ourselves be carried along by her in
order to develop our full potential and enjoy the experiences that life brings in the safety of her bosom.
There are many sensations that we cannot always describe in words but which can be identified through gazes, gestures and other
signs which our senses perceive. This is the spiritual beauty that Pierre Gonnord is able to capture with the highly-developed
sensibility of someone who knows how to listen, to look and to experiment without preconceived boundaries. That is why his work
evolves and pushes him to look for its expression in places of migration and social boundaries … but where the boundary with
oneself disappears.
The Earth; the artist’s creativity always goes hand in hand with the Earth. He travels its face, explores its unfathomed depths and
shows it his gratitude. Pierre Gonnord tirelessly honours it, once and again, always revealing an unexpected and moving side of our
own condition, reminding us of all that Gaia has given us... and what she can give or take away if we do not listen to her
benevolent power. His portraits seem to tell us that we must live, endure, enjoy and work with the Earth truthfully and with
humility. He makes us proud of our existence on it, in silence and with our heads held high.
Today Palacio Hernando de Ovando pays a particular homage to Extremadura, a land of great wealth, transhumance and frontiers,
and its historic walls are adorned with the faces of people that know it first-hand, people who have travelled its face day after day
from sunrise to sunset, forever in the company of their animals, transforming this piece of Portugal and Spain into a universal
Carmen Fernández
Palacio Hernando de Ovando stands out among the noble buildings in Plaza de Santa María in Cáceres. The Ovandos are a family of
noble ancestry related with other titled families from Cáceres like the Golfíns, the Ulloas and the Mayoralgos.
The palace and its austere renaissance doorway were built during the sixteenth century and its rooms are laid out around a
cloistered courtyard. A special mention is deserved for the renaissance portal, as well as for the tower with gothic elements on its
right end.
On the facade one can observe an eighteenth-century sgraffito shield representing the lineage of the family who dwelt there. The
medallions in the upper corners of the arch represent Hernando de Ovando and his wife Mencía de Ulloa. Above them one can see
the inscription “AETERNA IUSTORUM MEMORIAE”, the family’s motto, and its crest of arms, the shell with the cross of the Ovandos
and the cheques of the Ulloas.
FOROSUR_CÁCERES_14 Transhumance III in Contemporary Art and Culture
Friday 24 to Sunday 26 October 2014: FOROSUR_DEBATE AND GABINETE FOTO
Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26 October 2014: WORKSHOPS
Friday 24 October to Saturday 23 November 2014: EXHIBITIONS
FOROSUR_DEBATE 25-26 October
Conversations on:
Contemporary photography and heritage. In search of tomorrow’s artistic heritage
Centro Cultural San Jorge. Filmoteca de Extremadura
GAIA, exhibition by guest artist Pierre Gonnord
Palacio Hernando de Ovando. 25 October - 9 November
Curated by Carmen Fernández Ortiz
Landscape as Contemporary Narration. Alcobendas Collection
Sala de Arte El Brocense. 24 October - 22 November
Curated by José María Díaz-Maroto
El Paisaje deconstruido
Palacio de Toledo-Moctezuma, headquarters of Archivo Histórico Provincial de Cáceres
24-26 October
Curated by Manuel Rocha
The Photographic Personal Project
Thinking, developing and advancing the photographic work of art in today’s world
Meanings of the Image
Analysing various approaches to reading the image, grounded in aesthetic experience, audiovisual literacy, narrative, culture,
politics, the body and biography
Escuela de Bellas Artes de Cáceres
Guided visit to artist studios:
Ana H. del Amo, Andrés Talavero, Sebastián García-Martín, Matilde Granado Belvis, César David, Hilario Bravo Maldonado and
Roberto Massó
GABINETE FOTO 24-26 October
A selection of 12 projects dedicated to modern and contemporary photography represented by renowned galleries and publishers
in the Spanish art market
Centro Cultural San Jorge. Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático de Extremadura
Guest artist FOROSUR_CÁCERES_14: Pierre Gonnord
Curated by Carmen Fernández
Palacio Hernando de Ovando
Friday 24 October to Sunday 9 November
Friday 24 October: 5 pm - midnight
Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 October: 11 am – 2 pm / 5 – 8 pm
Monday 27 October to Friday 31 October: 4 – 7 pm
Saturday 1 & Sunday 2 November: 11 am – 2 pm / 5 – 8 pm
Thanks to the generosity of the owners, for the duration of the exhibition of works by the artist Pierre Gonnord the public are
allowed access to the beautiful renaissance cloister of Palacio Hernando de Ovando, one of Cáceres’s best conserved palaces.
Pierre Gonnord (1963, Cholet, France) has exhibited his work worldwide and in Spain where he has lived since 1988, where he is
represented by Galería Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid. His portraits are included in many major collections, including the Museum of
Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris;
CNAP (collection of French state); and Saastamonien, Helsinki. He has been invited to many art events, such as the Venice Biennale,
the Rencontres d’Arles, Photo-Festival of Beijing (Caochangdi), Helsinki and Bratislava, among others. He was a resident artist at
Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto (2003) invited by France’s Ministry of Culture. Among his recent one-person shows are: Testigos (University
of Salamanca, 2008); Terre de personne (Sala Alcalá 31, Madrid, 2009); Témoins (Centre Photographique d'Ile-de-France, 2010);
Portraying the South (SCAD Museum Atlanta, USA, 2012); Au-delà du Tage, (Évora, Portugal, 2013), coinciding with Trienal no
Alentejo, and El sueño va sobre el tiempo (Centro de Arte Tomás y Valiente, Fuenlabrada, Madrid, 2013; Centro Andaluz de la
Fotografía, Almería, 2014 and COAL, Museo de la Minería de Castilla y León, 2014).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------FOROSUR_CÁCERES_14 is an initiative of the Government of the Autonomous Community of Extremadura
Trinidad Nogales
Head of Dept of Education & Culture
Pilar Merino
Director-General of Cultural Heritage
YGBART Art Advising and Management (www.ygbart.com)
Rosina Gómez-Baeza. Curator
Lucía Ybarra. General Coordinator
Chema de Francisco
Coordination: Directorate-General of Cultural Heritage
Visual Arts Officers
Ana Jiménez
Fernando Pérez