artist / participant


press release

Lichens Never Lie is Joana Escoval's first solo exhibition outside the Iberian Peninsula. Here the young Lisbon artist gives spare, fragile expression to the endless ephemerality of the living world and its host of mysterious meanings.

The product of minimal intervention on her part, Escoval's works are most often assemblages of materials that are rudimentary—pieces of wood, copper rods, terracotta, etc.—and/or collected from the natural world: leaves, water, stones and sometimes whole trees.

Escoval is especially attentive to her venues and the visible and invisible currents running through them, which she sees as integral to what is being shown. Her La Criée exhibition is a response to both the setting and the airy summer light that pervades it.

Mostly comprising works being shown for the first time, Lichens Never Lie revolves around the notions of passage, transition and transmission: from one state to another, one belief or knowledge system to another, one culture to another, and so on.

Thus certain pieces—Keep Going and Our myth is not self evident because it is a mystery, for example—indicate pathways that are possible but always open-ended, while others, like Rational or Irrational or Rational or, mark a tenuous, sometimes all but invisible threshold.

Still others investigate the boundaries between nature and culture, or between different cultures, the better to evoke their intertwining—or their effacement. In the case of Neither Bounded nor Static and Untitled (for André) it would be pointless to try to work out whether the non-human is being anthropomorphised or, on the contrary, the human is being "naturalised."

The exhibition title, discovered by the artist on a sign in a pharmacognosy and mycology lab at the University of Rennes 1, refers to an organism that is both algae and fungus, and acknowledges its capacity to act. This speaks eloquently of the porousness of things and beings, and of their representation as a core part of the artist's work and concerns.

The things Joana Escoval makes are at once evocative enough to offer our ideas ready purchase and development and nebulous enough to let them roam free: open works for savage minds, one might say.

Joana Escoval was born in 1982. She lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal.
She is represented by Vera Cortês Art Agency, Lisbon, Portugal.

Curator: Sophie Kaplan
Production: La Criée centre of contemporary art
Partnership: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Camões Mission – Institute for Cooperation and Language, Portugal

La Criée is a City of Rennes cultural establishment.
La Criée is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication - DRAC Bretagne, the Brittany Region and the Ille-et-Vilaine département.