Using the lens of our friend AruallaN, we captured insight into the new project Gonzalo Borondo will be introducing a new project in Bordeaux, France on June 21st. Invited by the City Council for their Libertè! 2019, the Spanish-born artist chose an old protestant church, Le Temple des Chartrons, as the setting for a large-scale project involving both the interior and exterior of this monumental building.

Borondo Bordeaux Merci photoaruallan 6050 000015

Working in many mediums and continuously experimenting with immersive installations that combine an array of expressions like murals, projections, performance, and theatre, Merci includes a synthesis of painting, projections, and sound. "Every time I learn a technique, I need to go beyond it. I cannot just be satisfied with the way of proceeding I already know. I also have a tendency to question and transgress everything that has been imposed on me, especially in my training." 

In direct communion with an environment that had been closed to the public for thirty years, the artist invites the viewer to reflectively share the complexity of our relationship with nature, focusing specifically on the destructiveness of humanity. Borondo spent 4 months in an artistic residency, scratching, painting, intervening, and enveloping the decayed temple with a new skin and fresh voice.

Borondo Bordeaux Merci photoaruallan 6050 000009

"These projects intend to generate an experience that can be seen again and again, one we can continue to discover. I do not limit myself to an image and the concept attached to that image. By accumulating visual proposals about the same subject, we can increase its understanding. The important thing is to create this coherence, and that is what is difficult," the artist says, explaining Merci and Matière Noire, another project he completed in Marseilles in 2017.

While preparing this extensive installation, Borondo worked with recycling plants, the botanical garden and its research center, as well as the local National Forest Office, which maintains the largest artificial forest in Europe. He simultaneously created a series of soft urban interventions, slowly introducing the concept outside of the installation. Inspired by an ongoing relationship between the monumental building falling into ruin, overwhelmed by nature, the artist focuses on reusing the material found on site, once again challenging himself with the limits imposed by context. Although Merci is one of the most recognized French words, its original meaning of grace or appreciation implies an unbalanced dialogue. In the temple, Merci becomes a symbol for the similarly unbalanced dialogue between human beings and the idea of nature.––Sasha Bogojev

Images courtesy AruallaN.