ORWELL MONEGROS PROJECT
ORWELL MONEGROS PROJECT
A PROJECT BY BURNINGMAX
Centro De Arte y Naturaleza (CDAN) in Huesca endorses Homenaje a Los Monegros and opens its doors to a new installation
I have previously mentioned my admiration for the work that the Fundación Beulas – Centro de Arte y Naturaleza de Huesca (CDAN, as the centre is known by its acronym) has been doing in Aragon over the past couple of decades. I have often visited the land art installation of Fernando Casás “Árboles como Arqueología” which dominates a huge valley majestically standing on a cliff facing the Monegros territory from the neighbor territory of the Comarca Hoja de Huesca, in the proximity of Piracés (Huesca). The way the black granite installation merges with the enclosing century old olive trees and the entire landscape is for me one of the most beautiful and less invasive expressions of Land Art, and definitely a great source of inspiration for all the “visions” of my works within the landscape of The Monegros.
Fernando Casaas’s installation in Piracés is part of the larger project “Arte y Naturaleza”, for which the CDAN has commissioned permanent site-specific land art installations to selected international contemporary artists such as Richard Long, Ulrich Rückriem, Siah Armajani, Fernando Casás, David Nash, Alberto Carneiro and Per Kirkeby – some of the works are hosted at the CDAN exhibition space in Huesca dedicated to Land Art, others are scattered across the landscapes of the province of Huesca, that range from the rugged Pyrenees mountains to lush green valley, and of course to the Monegros desert.
Since my admiration for the work CDAN does for Land Art is huge, I felt particularly honored when I received the endorsement and patronage of CDAN for the “Homenaje a Los Monegros” project. And I felt even more honored when CDAN proposed to create an art intervention for their exhibition space in Huesca as a creative way to promote the site-specific installation for the Orwell trenches in the Sierra of Alcubierre. After a few phone and email interactions with the Director of CDAN Juan Guardiola and with Obarra Nagore, curator at CDAN, the art installation for CDAN, “Homenaje a Aragón” quickly took shape.
The art intervention for CDAN is an extension of the installation for the trenches of the Ruta Orwell, and will consist of a 25 meters long pathway of red gravel – the same used in the trenches – that will cover one of the internal ramps of CDAN, as shown in the mock-up image in this page.
The placement in the ramp has been proposed by CDAN as the most suitable internal space where to showcase the installation. A transit space turned into an exhibition space, that will allow visitors to walk on the installation and to lean over the security railway of the ramp to look at the CDAN spaces from above, pretty much as the visitors of the installation in the Sierra of Alcubierre will be able to look at the Monegros landscape from the top of Mt. Irazu by leaning over the trenches. The placement at CDAN creates a good metaphor, as in both cases visitors will be walking on the art piece while contemplating beauty, be it the natural landscape of the Monegros, or CDAN’s Land Art installations, designed to artfully merge with nature.
The opening of the CDAN installation, “Homenage a Aragón” is scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday May 18th 2017, at 7PM at CDAN in Huesca – a couple of days before the opening in the Orwell trenches, which is scheduled for the morning of May 20th (more details at this blog post). Again, the date is not casual – while May 20th is the 80th anniversary of the day George Orwell got shot (on May 20, 1937), the date proposed by CDAN for the opening of “Homenaje a Aragón” is actually International Museum Day, IMD 2017.
The initiative, which last year saw the participation of over 35,000 museums in 145 countries, every year proposes a new theme. The theme chosen for IMD 2017 is “Museums as tools for creating peaceful communities” – a focus on the role of museums that, by working to benefit society, become hubs for promoting peaceful relationships between people. This year theme, whose sub claim is “Saying the unspeakable in museums”, also highlights how “the acceptance of a contested history is the first step in envisioning a shared future under the banner of reconciliation”, while looking at “how to understand the incomprehensible aspects of the contested histories inherent to the human race”, and “encouraging museums to play an active role in peacefully addressing traumatic histories through mediation and multiple points of view” – as the description of IMD 2017 says. To learn more about International Museum Day 2017, visit IMD 2017’s official website.
It all adds up for “Homenaje a Aragón” within the frame of IMD 2017. The reflections on the human drama and the incomprehensible aspects of past and current wars that affect humanity. The contested history that includes the re-appropriation of the memory and the deep links between George Orwell and the land of The Monegros. The way contemporary art can silently and peacefully address traumatic histories while promoting a culture of peace.
Yes, we can say that “Homenaje a Aragón” can certainly fit the conceptual and inspirational frame promoted by International Museum Day, even if the project has been designed not knowing that it would have coincided with the worldwide museum initiative. Even the poster for IMD 2017 connects with the Monegros landscape of the Ruta Orwell that, from the trenches, is dominated by the presence of cheval-de-frise and barbed wire lines, that go across the face of the mask in the poster pretty much as in the “selfie” I took at the trenches last summer, that you can see here and at the Burningmax page.
Over the next few days I’ll be interacting more and more with CDAN to sort out a work plan for the intervention at their space in Huesca, plus we are planning on distributing soon press releases with more information about “Homenaje a Aragón” at CDAN. Look out also for more blog posts with backstage pictures of the installation work at CDAN, that will be published over the next few weeks.
In the mean time, save the date for the CDAN opening: Thursday May 18th, at 7PM. I will be attending the opening ceremony, of course – and there will be a presentation and a guided visit for the public, media and institutions that will attend the opening. “Homenaje a Aragón” will be showcased at the exhibition spaces of CDAN in Huesca until June 11th, 2017 – don’t miss it!
LATEST ARTICLES FROM THE PROJECT BLOG
Summer 2019, a new intervention for the Orwell Monegros Project, the land art installation in the Spanish civil war trenches where George Orwell fought back in 1936. Enjoy the photo gallery.
The land installation project in the civil war trenches of the Ruta Orwell has now been completed. Watch the final photo gallery and the video walkthroughs.
Homenaje a Aragón has been invited to join the latest CDAN exhibition “El borde de una herida”, and will remain featured at the Huesca museum until September 2017.