Plaza Libreak (2012)

Literally translated from the Basque language, “Plaza libreak” means “free spots”, being that the name given to one of the kinds of pelota courts that can be found in any of the Basque Country villages, even in the smallest ones. As a matter of fact it can be stated that the pelota court or “fronton” is the most significant architectural expression in the Basque Country, having it been exported successfully  to nearby countries as well as distant ones such as Argenti na, Mexico, Cuba or the USA, as pelota game was inherent to Basque immigrants. “One Basque, one beret, two Basques, a fronton”, the saying says.

Frontons have always been placed in the most outstanding spots, both in villages and in their faraway neighbourhoods; it is usually located next to the churches, and, this, apart from being a place were different pelota  modalities can be played, it is also a communal space for all neighbours, a kind of secular temple where countless social and cultural activities are carried out.

In order to accomplish this series of photographs I have set off from the study of different typologies of frontons and have developed an aesthetic search, basing my investigation on the relation between architecture and landscape.

Finally I have chosen “one only wall frontons” because I’m fascinated by the fact that such architecturally basic work as a dihedral can get to have such an important social function and how at the same time it can generate such symbolic power.

Much has been written about the sculptural character of the frontons; Sculptor Jorge Oteiza’s inner thoughts when presenting  the fronton as the Basque “emptiness” paradigm is in this sense especially well known.

However, I intend with this series of photographs to highlight the idea of the fronton as an opening window to landscape and this could as well be considered as window looking to a country’s collective memory.