Image: Walking a Line in Peru, 1972. © Richard Long
Intangible and Tangible Cultural Heritage Entwined
The promoter of the order is the Hon. Montejaque City Council, with NIF: P2907400B and with address at Plaza de la Constitución 4, 29360, Montejaque, Province of Malaga, Spain on behalf of the Fundación Sierra de Libar with registration number: MA- 01423 and CIF: G93403335 and Ayuntamiento de Montejaque, CIF: P2907400B.
Project Manager, Co-Ordinator and Curator: Roanne O’Donnell M.A. President
Project Finance Manager: Juan de Castro, C.E.O.
Ayuntamiento De Montejaque: Diego Sanchez Sanchez, Mayor | Tamara Nieto García, Assistant to the Mayor.
Grazalema Biosphere Reserve Sculpture Landscape is planned as a public route of Site-Specific Environmental and Community Artworks placed within the 3000 km2 UNESCO nature reserve, here, within the Serrania de Ronda, Andalucia. These artworks will link our White Villages with aesthetic, innovative and contemplative contemporary artistic encounters created by international artists during their residence in the municipalities. In 2024 we begin an Artist in Residence Program to develop and place the first work in this majestic landscape.
The United Nations Assembly declared 2021-2030 as the decade of Ecological Restoration. Fundación Sierra de Libar and Ayuntamiento de Montejaque are working in collaboration with businesses, public bodies, and civil society to restore 13% of this area, ensuring it meets environmental sustainability standards, and in line with our objective of contribute to improving the quality of life through art, music, culture and tourism.
Site-Specific Community and Environmental Art focuses on integrating artistic expressions with the unique characteristics and context of the location or community. In this project, artists will strive to establish a profound connection between their artwork and its surroundings. They will address relevant issues specific to the landscape and its people, encouraging active participation from the inhabitants to cultivate a deeper understanding of contemporary art. The chosen sites will exhibit Artwork in expansive rural landscapes, visible from considerable distances, as well as smaller pieces, thoughtfully placed to encourage intimate and meaningful dialogues. All feasible art genres will be considered.
Central to the project is the integration of an Artist in Residency and a commitment to installing two new works over the next five years. The focal point of the artistic response lies in ecological restoration, environmental improvement, public use, and the enhancement of the Embalse or Pantano de Montejaque area, proposing its inclusion within the protective framework of a «Fluvial Reserve» under Art. 21 of the Andalusian Water Law.
Scheduled for launch in Summer/Autumn 2024, this ambitious project will strive to attract both national and international visitors to the region. With the goal of promoting contemporary art, the endeavour will encompass art commissions and creative projects, establishing a presence in the international art arena.
- Collaborate between contemporary artists and cultural organizations to create new perspectives for diverse audiences, based on research demonstrating that placing contemporary art at the heart of heritage and cultural programming enables audiences to find their own stories within historic places and spaces. This will involve bringing to life the stories, atmosphere, and architecture of the Hundidero and creating fresh perspectives.
- Make the project sustainable and commission new work for the region, developing Grazalema Biosphere Reserve Art Landscape’s significance and value in European and international art areas. Launch the first two artworks in Spring 2023, with new work following sequentially over the next five years and beyond.
- Create an experience that shares the transformative power of art in places.
- Support artists, curators, critics, study, and critical analysis by establishing a base for creation, inclusion, and exchange, and activate diversity with the inclusion of Outsider Artists and those with physical disabilities and celebrate their rich diversity and uniqueness.
- Uphold and protect the equitable remuneration of professional artists in accord with the ‘Exhibition Remuneration Right in Europe 2018’ by The IAA Europe, together with the IGBK, the German collecting society VG Bild-Kunst, and the association European Visual Artists (EVA).
- Promote the transnational mobility of artists and professionals, enabling them to cooperate internationally and internationalize their careers.
- Develop and promote the pluralism in contemporary art, new genres and New Technology and make concerted efforts to frame programs for the preservation and dissemination of these artforms
- Enrich people’s consciousness about their heritage, with special emphasis on regional tradition raising awareness of common history and values, and reinforcing a sense of belonging to a common European space.
- Strengthen audience development to improve access to European cultural and creative works, tangible and intangible cultural heritage, and extend access to cultural works to children, young people, people with disabilities, and under-represented groups.
- Foster capacity building through innovative approaches to creation, development, and testing of new and innovative models of revenue, management, and marketing for the cultural sectors, particularly regarding the digital shift, and developing new skills for cultural professionals.
- Continuously impact the evolving inter-community connection and address developing global artistic concerns to sustain Grazalema Biosphere Reserve Sculpture Landscape into the future.
- Preserve, innovate, promote, develop, and disseminate art and culture within education and social welfare.
- Work with local communities.
- Build on relationships and collaborations with heritage sites and art institutions in the local area and worldwide.
- Integrate arts and culture into the core of the regional tourism offer.
- Frame programs to encourage and involve youth in creative cultural communications through conferences, festivals, educational institutions, seminars, exchanges, and workshops.
- Accept public donation and financial assistance from Government, Semi-Government, autonomous bodies, public sectors for meeting the relating aims and objectives of the local and district society.
- Carry out any activity in perseverance of the above objectives.
Our expertise in project development will be reenforced with collaborators, who have successfully created art landscapes, serving as wellsprings of inspiration and valuable resources in the development of our project.
Among the renowned sites is Nordland Skulpturlandskap (Artscape Nord) in Northern Norway. ….has successfully positioned more than thirty sculptures by internationally acclaimed artists across the three northernmost regions, which collectively constitute over half of the nation’s total surface area. The open-air public art gallery shows work by renowned artists such as Anish Kapoor, Dan Graham and Spanish artist, Christina Iglesias which attract art lovers from all over the world.
The sculptures are strategically positioned in accessible public spaces, fostering free engagement and catalysing positive economic impacts through tourism.
We have cultivated a strong rapport with the regional council and those responsible for its development and continued drift. The …. Astrid Arnøy has enthusiastically embraced co-operation and will prove to be a supportive partner in the advancement of our own project. The collaboration will include an exchange between Spanish and Norwegian artists.
4. LOCATION: MONTEJAQUE, A SUITABLE PLACE
Montejaque, located in the province of Málaga, Andalusia, Spain, is an historic village within the Grazalema Biosphere Reserve. Positioned approximately 125 kilometers from Málaga, equidistant to Seville, and 21 kilometers from The famous Ronda, it sits over 600 meters above sea level, with the Costa del Sol just an hour’s drive away.
With roots dating back to the Stone Age, with the 20,000-year-old cave art of the Cueva de la Pilota close by. Once a Roman settlements, Montejaque’s true historical significance emerged during the Middle Ages, marked by its Arabic origins and the growth around a vanished fortress (alcazaba). The town’s name, Munt-Šāqir, meaning «sacred mountain,» reflects the epoch when Spain was called El Andaluz. Despite its official population of just over 1,000, Montejaque has faced depopulation challenges.
The village can be divided up into two parts; the upper part, known as «Barrio Nazarí», is a labyrinth of narrow streets which reflect the Arabic influence in the village and where one of the village four street fountains can also be found.
The gradual depopulating of the village that had been going on ever since the end of the XIXth century has been halted thanks to the existence of businesses that restore old disused properties for sale and occupation, either by people who rent for a short time, or buyers. The small industries that exist in the village are also important for the local economy as agricultural work is very limited due to the fact that only 25 percent of the land is suitable for crop farming, in fact only four hectares are able to be irrigated. Of the little activity that does exist the most important crops are the olive and various cereal crops. There are also some herds of goats, sheep, pigs and cows, which add variety to the economic income for the village.
The almost 4500 hectares of land that makes up the municipality is diverse and some particular areas have especially rough terrain and as such the climatic conditions are also sometimes quite changeable.
4. AN OPEN-AIR ART GALLERY
An open-air art gallery is a dynamic and all-encompassing platform that reimagines the traditional boundaries of art presentation. The hallmark of an open-air art gallery lies in its inclusivity. Positioned in parks, urban streets, plazas, and natural landscapes, these galleries make art accessible to a broad audience. By eliminating physical barriers and admission fees, open-air galleries welcome individuals from diverse backgrounds to encounter art casually and unpretentiously. Passers-by inadvertently become patrons, encountering unexpected visual wonders that enhance their everyday experiences. It invites individuals to engage with creativity in unconventional settings. The changing ambient conditions contribute to an ever-evolving encounter with the artworks, as natural light and shadows cast varying auras on the pieces throughout the day.
4.1 REASONS FOR CREATING A SCULPTURE LANDSCPAE IN ISOLATED RURAL AREAS
Access to contemporary art can be a significant challenge for individuals residing in isolated areas, far removed from the vibrant cultural scenes of urban centres. While cities serve as hubs for artistic expression, museums, galleries, and cultural events, those living in remote or rural locations face several obstacles that hinder their engagement with contemporary art.
Geographical Barriers: Isolated areas often lack the physical infrastructure that facilitates the transportation of art. Museums and galleries are predominantly concentrated in urban centers, making it difficult for people in remote locations to access these cultural institutions. The sheer distance and limited transportation options can be a deterrent for art enthusiasts living in rural areas.
Limited Cultural Institutions: Cities are home to a myriad of cultural institutions, ranging from world-renowned museums to small galleries showcasing emerging artists. In isolated areas, however, the scarcity of such institutions limits exposure to contemporary art. The absence of these spaces results in a lack of opportunities for residents to witness and engage with the latest artistic trends.
Technological Disparities: The digital divide is another critical factor that impedes access to contemporary art in isolated areas. Many art institutions and artists showcase their work online, but individuals in remote locations may lack reliable internet access or the necessary technology to explore these virtual spaces. This further widens the gap between urban and rural populations in terms of exposure to contemporary art.
Educational Challenges: Access to art education is often concentrated in urban centers, leaving those in isolated areas with limited opportunities to learn about and appreciate contemporary art. Without proper educational resources and exposure to artistic techniques, residents may struggle to develop a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical context that informs modern artworks.
Limited Art Events: Cities frequently host a variety of art events, including exhibitions, performances, and festivals. In contrast, isolated areas may have fewer opportunities for residents to attend such events. The lack of a vibrant cultural scene in these regions results in a diminished sense of community engagement with contemporary art.
Economic Constraints: Financial constraints can pose a significant barrier to access. Traveling to urban centers to experience art exhibitions or events may be financially burdensome for individuals in isolated areas. Additionally, the cost of acquiring contemporary art or supporting local artists can be prohibitive, limiting opportunities for personal art collection.
4.2 BENEFITS OF CREATING A SCULPTURE LANDSCPAE IN ISOLATED RURAL AREAS
Encounters with contemporary land art, earth art, sculpture, performance, and installation can offer a range of profound and enriching experiences for both artists and audiences. Here are some key aspects highlighting the importance of engaging with these forms of art:
Connection with Nature: Land art and earth art often involve creating works in natural environments, fostering a deep connection between the artist and nature. This connection can lead to a heightened environmental awareness and appreciation for the natural world.
Environmental Consciousness: Many contemporary artists working in these forms are motivated by environmental concerns. Through their works, they may address issues such as climate change, deforestation, or pollution, prompting viewers to reflect on their impact on the planet.
Spatial Awareness and Site-Specificity: Land art and site-specific installations prompt artists to engage with the spatial and environmental qualities of a particular location. This challenges traditional notions of art confined to galleries and museums, emphasizing the importance of context in the creation and interpretation of art.
Multisensory Experience: Installations and performances often provide multisensory experiences, engaging not only the visual but also auditory, tactile, and sometimes olfactory senses. This immersive quality can make the art more memorable and impactful.
Community Engagement: Public art installations and performances have the potential to bring communities together. They create shared spaces for contemplation, discussion, and participation, fostering a sense of belonging and shared experience among diverse groups of people.
Temporal Nature: Performance art and certain installations are inherently temporary, emphasizing the transient and ephemeral nature of life and art. This temporality challenges traditional notions of permanence in art and encourages a focus on the present moment.
Cultural Critique and Commentary: Many contemporary artists use these forms to critique societal norms, challenge established structures, or comment on political and cultural issues. The unconventional nature of these art forms allows for innovative ways of expressing dissent or social commentary.
Personal Reflection and Contemplation: Land art and other immersive installations often encourage introspection and contemplation. Viewers are prompted to engage with their surroundings in a more thoughtful and mindful manner, fostering personal reflection.
Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Many contemporary artists working in these forms collaborate across disciplines, incorporating elements of science, technology, architecture, and more. This interdisciplinary approach can lead to innovative and groundbreaking artworks that transcend traditional boundaries.
Innovation and Experimentation: The nature of these art forms encourages experimentation with unconventional materials, techniques, and concepts. This spirit of innovation contributes to the evolution of the art world and challenges conventional norms.
SCULPTURE LANDSCAPES AROUND THE WORLD
Other examples in of Sculpture Landscapes in Europe:
Lough Boora Discovery Park, County Offaly, Ireland
Lough Boora, located in Ireland’s Midlands, has been transformed from a peat bog producing over a million tonnes annually into a sanctuary for wildlife. The site now hosts 24 land sculptures inspired by the region’s industrial heritage, offering visitors a unique blend of art and nature within a historically significant setting.
Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, Surrey
Situated in the southern region of England, this serene and aesthetically pleasing sculpture garden hosts dynamic contemporary sculptures. Established and initially curated by Hannah Peshcar three and a half decades ago, the garden currently showcases over 200 pieces created by European artists.
Ayuntamiento de Montejaque Plaza de la Constitución, 4 29360 Montejaque