Joana Escoval
I'M THE SON OF THAT DRUM
2 Dicembre 2017 – 20 Febbraio 2018

, 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 get noticed and, as the air runs through the space, all your plants tremble 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 salt 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 with it 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 voices because the music is too loud and let your clothes move to the beat of 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 neither 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,

– Written by André Romao for Joana Escoval in 2017. Italics indicate quotes from: Clarice Lispector (Uma Aprendizagem ou o Livro dos Prazeres, 1969), Walt Whitman (Song of Myself, 1855) and last words by Fernando Pessoa on his deathbed (29-11-1935).

Joana Escoval, (1982) lives and works in Lisbon. A selection of exhibitions and projects include Transmissions from the Etherspace, La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2017); Si sedes non is, curated by Milovan Farronato, The Breeder, Athens (2017); Canibalia, redux, Hangar, Lisbon (2017); I will go where I don’t belong / Volcano Extravaganza, Fiorucci Art Trust, Stromboli (2016); I forgot to go to school yesterday, Kunsthalle Lissabon and Kunsthalle Tropical, Iceland (2016); Lichens Never Lie, La Crie?e Centre d’Art Contemporain, Rennes (2016); Matter Fictions, Museu Colecao Berardo, Lisbon (2016); The lynx knows no boundaries, Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris (2015); Europe, Europe, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2014). She won the BES Revelacao Prize in 2012 (Serralves Museum) and was nominated for the EDP Foundation New Artists Prize in 2015, in Portugal. Escoval has received a grant from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and FLAD Foundation in 2013. She has recently published two flexi- discs with Atlas Projectos and Palmario Recordings and she’s currently working in a new vinyl release.