There are many photographers and artist trying to encompass the human kind in a sort of visual archive by immortalizing them in an artwork. A perfect example of this could be the 7 Billion Others show, currently on view at MOPA. While this video project focuses on all people, photographers like Diane Arbus or Jimmy Nelson bring our attention to marginalized and imperiled communities, broading our views on their way of living and freeing us of prejudice. Joining this group of creatives is French-born, Madrid-based artist Pierre Gonnord, with an exhibition at Hasted Kraeutler.
Immersing himself in the world of portraiture using a peculiar style, Pierre Gonnord’s photographs talk about globalization from a different point of view - of those existing almost entirely off the grid. Familiarizing with a fair number of people belonging to tribes, clans and alienated social groups, such as immigrants, gypsies or coal miners, he brings us images from the outskirts and dark corners of the globe. Living with as little as what they have on their back and an animal companion, these people embark on nomadic journeys, rejecting our world’s uncontrolled rush into a virtual reality. After embracing their lifestyle for a period of time, Gonnord managed to accumulate an entire experience with a person into a single, powerful image, creating a proper visual, but also psychological profile of strangers he became close with.
Like his colleague Hendrik Kerstens, Gonnord draws inspiration and pays homage to the Old Masters, getting the best out of selective light and shooting against a black drop cloth he carries with him. His subjects, photographed from the waist up, often meet a camera for the first time, so their expression is genuine. In a technology-free environment, the picture Gonnord takes of them is often their only one, so its symbolic value increases significantly. In them, they act naturally, projecting their beauty and strength in all their power. Featured in the photographs are also animals, graceful and beautiful, evoking old paintings from an intense play of lights and shadows. In a series of portraits, every image is strikingly unique, with its rawness emphasized and soaked in very curated aesthetics.
Pierre Gonnord, born in 1963, is one of the most significant portraitists of today. His stunning images were featured in the monumental exhibition Real Venice, held in Venice, Italy, as part of the 54th Venice Biennale. His work was exhibited in many solo shows across France and Spain and is included in many major private and public collections. He has also published several monographs and catalogues of portraits. New York’s Hasted Kraeutler Gallery will host The Dream Goes Over Time, an exhibition of new photographs by Pierre Gonnord, from March 5th until April 25th, 2015.
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Images courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery.