Gypsies of Alentejo in an exhibition in New York
by Tiago Pais
The French artist, Pierre Gonnord photographed the last nomadic gypsies of Alentejo and their animals in Baroque style pictorial portraits. The exhibition is now in New York.
It is not the first time that Pierre Gonnord, French photographer living in Madrid, has been dedicated to photographing marginalized communities in an almost pictorial form, reminiscent of canvas portraits of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He created them in isolated villages of France and Spain, in South America, with members of the Yakuza in Japan, with homeless youth, the blind, farmers or miners almost everywhere in Europe.
For this work, however, Gonnord came to Portugal. Housed in a residence during the Triennial in Alentejo, with which he collaborated on several projects, the artist explored the borderland with Portalegre and found the nomadic gypsies of Alentejo to be the perfect characters for The Dream Goes Over Time (originally titled Au-Delà du Tage).
Once again, and similar to his previous work, Gonnord creates a collection of intimate portraits with a dramatic pictorial style, not just of members of the region’s community, but also of their animals. The photographer encountered the family for the first time while they were travelling aboard a wagon on the way to their camp. He traveled and lived with them for weeks until earning enough trust and affection to be able to photograph them, since many of them had never even seen a camera until such time.
After having already been shown in 2013 in Évora, during the Triennial and in 2014 in the Andalusian Center of Photography, his work crossed the Atlantic and has now arrived in New York: it can be seen at the Hasted Kraeutler gallery until April 25th.