‘Murillo, Caravaggio and Velasquez instantly come to mind, but those looking at us are definitely witnesses of today, from Madrid and elsewhere.'
SOUS LA PEAU / UNDER THE SKIN
‘The face, situated absolutely and decisively between presence and absence, between resemblance and difference, systematically triggers a complex meditation on being, ‘oneself’ and ‘the other’. And it is precisely here – on these crucial boundaries, and summoned to reveal the stripped-down resemblance – that we find Pierre Gonnord’s portraits: works thoroughly acquainted with the genealogy of the genre and called on to tackle the deep meaning a face can contain as an expression of the individual’.
‘The people Gonnord records in his photos have always had some link or affinity: youth, lifestyles or trends, their profession or, now, a certain way of living on the fringes of the established order. But he, in contrast with the usual procedure, does not set about building the image of a group, does not seek to assert an accumulation of individualities as a collective identity. He lifts the individual out of the communal or the collective, and offers each subject self-representation.’
‘If there is a crucial element in Gonnord’s work, it is the subject’s gaze. Not a gaze given unified expression by the eyes, but one configured in the face as a whole.’
‘And it is this face, transformed into gaze, that arises autonomously out of the neutral backdrop to touch us and tell us its story. It is this face that aspires to achieve emancipation of a body capable of illuminating what lies beneath the skin’.
All the quotations are from Alberto Martín’s catalogue essay for Pierre Gonnord’s exhibition Testigos (Witnesses), presented at the University of Salamanca Photography Centre, Spain, in February-April 2008.
Pierre Gonnord is represented by the Juana de Aizpuru gallery, Madrid and the France’s National Collection of Contemporary Art (FNAC).
Collections: Gallery Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid ; Gallery Olivia Arauna, Madrid; the MUSAC, León.