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Pierre Gonnord, French photographer, linked to the University of Navarra Museum since its beginnings.

The MUN fondly remembers this recently deceased artist. This Thursday 25th, students of Medicine of the University of Navarra will carry out a visual thinking activity around one of his works.

PhotoManuelCastells/French photographer Pierre Gonnord at the opening of his exhibition "De laboris" at MUN, in 2016.

22 | 04 | 2024

The French photographer Pierre Gonnord, based in Madrid, died yesterday at the age of 60. Focused on portraiture, the Gallic artist maintained a close professional relationship and staff with the University of Navarra Museum and supported its projects from the very beginning. The MUN's director , Jaime García del Barrio, recalls that Gonnord always spoke of the gratitude he felt for the affection and hospitality received over the years, and the frequent contact he maintained with him and with the Museum.

In 2016, he produced for the MUN the work De laboris, dedicated to the miners of the Asturian-Leonese basin; and to the gypsy collective, specifically, of La Raya, on the border between Spain and Portugal. The exhibition, which was completed with other works by the author, was result of Gonnord's participation in the program research and artistic residences Tender Puentes. This program invites artists to dialogue with works from the MUN Collection. In this case, the photographer focused on portraits by artists such as Napper, Laurent and, above all, Tenison. Playing on the name of this project, Gonnord thanked the MUN's director for "the bridge built in the heart of a brilliant University". For some time now, the MUN has been preparing a publication of the one hundred works that Gonnord left with De laboris, which will be published soon.

The MUN's artistic director , Valentin Vallhonrat, a great friend of the photographer for more than two decades, tells of the link staff that the Frenchman always maintained with the Museum, whose exhibitions he used to visit. Vallhonrat explains that with his camera he sought to capture the purity of those who are in true contact with their spiritual world, of those whom he considered truly authentic beings, and whom he described as kings, princesses, goddesses... With them, he established deep relationships through coexistence, and this is what allowed him to get to the bottom of their essence and bring it out in his portraits.

So much so that his works serve as a starting point for students at the University to delve into questions about the human soul. This Thursday 25, Dr. José Luis Pereira, from the area of Palliative Medicine, will develop an activity with third-year students of Medicine, within the subject Practice of Medicine and the project of Medical Identity of the School of Medicine, in which they will use the work Maria, João, Isaac (2013): In it, a gypsy woman breastfeeds her twins, in an image full of strength and tenderness between the mother, who looks to the side revealing beautiful green eyes with a confident gaze, and her two little ones with golden and curly hair, naked and with their eyes closed. A beautiful portrait that sample the dignity of this family and of motherhood.

exhibition "De laboris," at the MUN, in 2016. Manuel Castells/Museum of the University of Navarra

Through this and other works belonging to the MUN Collection(De este paraíso, by Manolo Millares, and some genre portraits from the current exhibition Una tierra prometida), future doctors will carry out a visual thinking activity, in which they will first contemplate the proposed works and then share reflections, emotions and feelings that will lead them to address issues such as compassion or empathy, fundamental in the human attention with the patient.

Born in Cholet, France, Pierre Gonnord lived in Madrid since 1988. A self-taught photographer, his career earned him the award de la Cultura de la Comunidad de Madrid (2007) and the award Internacional de Fotografía Alcobendas (2014). The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid owns several of his works.

Gonnord's work focused primarily on human faces. Some examples are Interiors (Madrid, 199), City (New York, 2001) and Utopians (2004 - 2005). The artist exhibited in many public and private galleries, such as the Centro Cultural Conde Duque, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Seville, the University of Salamanca, the Atelier des Forges, Les Rencontres d'Arles, the FRAC Auvergne-Ecuries de Chazerat, Clermont Ferrand, or the Helsinki Photographic Festival.

Work Maria, João, Isaac (2013), belonging to MUN.