Clemente Bernad (born in Pamplona, Spain, in 1963) is a photographer working in the service of memory. Donde Habita el Recuerdo (Where Memory Lives) is the title of the series of photographs on show in the old prison cells of Landskrona. Bernad’s work reveals the special ability of photography to bridge time, to create a dialogue between the past and the present, between the living and the dead. Here we see the tension between today’s democratic Spain and the totalitarian and brutal era that began with Francisco Franco’s attempted coup on 17 July 1936. This led to the Spanish Civil War, and in the years that followed, hundreds of thousands of Spaniards disappeared, tortured and murdered. Relatives were left in uncertainty. What was the fate of their sons and daughters, their workmates and friends? Justice was never done, and the atrocities became hidden traumas that poisoned Spanish society.
In 2000 the first mass grave in north-western Spain was opened. Bones and earth, mass grave after mass grave emerged. In 2003 Bernad began documenting the excavations. With as much dignity as possible, he recorded the forensic work of charting the ill deeds of an era. The aesthetic is low-key. With respect for what was stolen, Bernad bears witness to the efforts to break down the wall of silence that has long surrounded the crimes. The work is still in progress.
In the 1980s Bernad studied art in Barcelona and since then he has worked as a photographer. Today he is one of Spain’s strong and independent artistic voices. In his work, Bernad is both a citizen and a photographer. He is interested in the political and the cultural, in wounds and sores. He depicts crimes committed against individuals, families and societies, against generations and communities.
To heal a trauma, time needs to be reversed. Donde Habita el Recuerdo is a tribute to those who were unwilling and unable to forget. Those whose love and demand for justice preserved the memory of those who disappeared.