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Bi ikuspegi - two ways of seeing Saint Jean Pied de Port

This exhibition in Saint Jean Pied de Port in September 2012 brought together work by two artists, photographer Abel Bourgeois and myself, inspired by the streetscapes of the town where I have my studio. The title of the exhibition means “Two points of view”, and that's what we tried to show.

Abel is a talented and innovative photographer who makes his own cameras. For this exhibition, he used a pinhole camera to photograph views of Saint Jean Pied de Port, in one case at the level of the cobbles paving the narrow street leading up to the 17th century military garrison, the Rue de la Citadelle. His photographs, in black and white, offer an unusual view of the town, leaving aside its touristic character to focus on the shapes and perspectives of its historic buildings.

For my part, I painted a series of paintings from unusual vantage points that I chose to bring out the peculiar winding forms of the Rue de la Citadelle, which is where I have my studio. Some of the paintings were done from the balcony of the Hotel Ramuntcho, opposite my house. For others, I perched myself on the parapet above the Porte de Saint Jacques, the medieval gateway through which the pilgrims enter the town on their way to the shrine of Saint James the Major at Santiago de Compostela.

But it was the third location that was the most unusual: the parish priest very kindly lent me the key to the belfry of the parish church. Climbing up the narrow staircase, I was able to access a chamber which, once I had opened the shutters which normally remain firmly shut, gave me an amazing view directly onto the Rue de la Citadelle at its base by the entrance to the church, from where it begins its winding climb.


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