The Breeder is pleased to present Joana Escoval’s first solo show in Athens, titled “Nearly Inaudible Breathing”.
,you are lying on the floor of your place looking up, a small draft runs through the room, between the door and the window, and all things seem perfectly still, wind only disturbs concrete in imperceptible ways, or it may take millions of years to be noticed and, as the air runs through the space, all your plants move and all is animated and all is alive somehow, and here are the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me, and that wind upon your plants is the common air that bathes the globe, and we have no ambitions of universalism, and I’m glad we don’t, but the particles of air bring traces of pollen and are charged with electricity, desert sand, maybe sea water, and these particles were somewhere else before they were dragged here, and their route will not end by the door of this house, and if we tell each other stories, one can imagine that they might have been bathed by this same air, regrouped and recombined, recharged as a vehicle for sound, swirling as it moves, bringing the sound of a drum, like that Kabuki story where a fox recognizes the voice of its parents as a girl plays a drum made out of their skin, or any other event, and yet I always felt your work never tells stories, I tend to think that narrative implies a past tense, even if that past was just five seconds ago, one second ago was already the past, and human memory is irrelevant in geological time, plants and fish know not what tomorrow will bring, neither rocks nor metal do, but we all live here now, and we all need visions and we all need dreams, and as long as your metal sculptures vibrate they are always in the Present, and their past is a material truth alien to narrative, but well, maybe narrative does not imply a past tense at all and they are writing their own story while they gently move and breathe, and maybe nothing was really still before the wind came in, passing through the window as if through an irrational portal to make those plants dance, but everything was already moving and breathing in near complete silence, and if you’re focused enough you can feel the pulse of a concrete wall and you can feel the tectonic movements of the earth, and you can hear the magma flowing under our feet and our bones crackling like a wild fire, and you can see the light of fireflies reflected in polished metal, and there is nothing magical about that, it is just the way things are, and sometimes we have to raise our voice because the music is too loud and let your clothes move to a powerful bass, sound waves and bright lights, powerful like the sun, blinding us if we stare for too long, but isn’t it the biggest sign of love, like singing to a corn field, and all acts of kindness that are not pitiful nor utilitarian, that are truly horizontal as everything around us is impregnated with the deadliest violence, vertical and systemic, poisonous, and sometimes you just want to feel the sun burning your skin and look for life in all things declared dead, a kind of vitality that operates like corrosion, strong as the wind near the sea, transforming all things,
- André Romão.
in order of appearance, italics indicate quotes from Clarice Lispector (Uma Aprendizagem ou o Livro dos Prazeres, 1969), Walt Whitman (Song of Myself, 1855) and the last words written by Fernando Pessoa on his deathbed (29-11-1935)
Joana Escoval was born in 1982 in Lisbon, Portugal. She is a graduate of the School of Fine Arts, FBAUL in Lisbon (2002 -2008), Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, Florence (2008) and the Fine Arts class, UMA in Madeira Island (2001 – 2002). The artist has been awarded with the Bes Revelação Award in 2012, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and FLAD Grant in 2013 and the award for Finalist EDP Foundation New Artists Prize in 2015.
Selected solo exhibitions include: The Breeder, Athens (forthcoming November 2017), “I forgot to go to school yesterday”, curated by Luis Silva and João Mourão, a collaboration between Kunsthalle Lissabon and Kunsthalle Tropical, 2016 and “Lichens Never Lie”, curated by Sophie Kaplan, La Criée centre of contemporary art, Rennes, 2016.
Joana Escoval has taken part in group exhibitions, which include “Transmissions from the Etherspace”, curated by João Laia, La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2017), “Si sedes non is” curated by Milovan Farronato, The Breeder, Athens (2017), “O que eu sou”, curated by Inês Grosso and Luiza Teixeira de Freitas, MAAT, Lisbon, (2017), “Volcano Extravaganza 2016 – I Will Go Where I Don’t Belong”, curated by Camille Henrot and Milovan Farronato, Stromboli, Aeolian Island, (2016), “Finalistas do Prémio Novos Artistas Fundação” EDP 2015, Museu da Eletricidade, Lisbon (2015), “Le Lynx ne connaît pas de frontiêres / The lynx knows no boundaries” curated by Joana Neves, Fondation d’entreprise Ricard, Paris, (2015), “Europe, Europe”, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Thomas Boutoux and Gunnar Kvaran Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, (2014) “Bes Revelation” curated by Carolina Rito, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Oporto, (2012), “The Sound”, Museu Nogueira da Silva, Braga, (2012), “O sol morre cedo / The sun will die soon” City Museum – Pavilhão Branco, Lisbon, (2009), and “Geological Museum”, Geological Museum, Lisbon (2009).