Carefully installed in the space of Bombon Projects, Joana Escoval’s exhibition “Wordless and Earthen” speaks of the fragility of matter in relation to the environment and the elements. The artist works with materials such as clay, gold, and bronze, demonstrating their natural resilience by exposing them to air, fire, and water during and after the production process. The understated display blends in harmony with its surroundings, while also revealing the extreme vulnerability and mutability of her materials.
Escoval subtly interrupts the striking whiteness of the walls with the reflections of gold threads, which are scattered throughout the gallery as if drawings in space. Light, ethereal, and nearly invisible, these filaments slice large, looping spirals through the air, spurring a dialogue with the exhibition’s second element, clay, which in Ash and fire were mixing in midair with the rain (all works 2022) takes the form of large wall-mounted tubes whose kiln-fired surfaces have been further singed by the flames of a bonfire. The artist has also used heat to obtain her gold, melting down valuable objects such as jewelry and medallions only to refigure them into an affective landscape of material transformation.
This exhibition moves beyond Western ocularcentrism to engage all the senses. The clay pieces remain static as possible conduits for the drafts of air that enter the gallery, sending vibrations through the golden threads. For the sculptural arrangement I am molten matter returned from the core of the earth to tell you interior things, a heavy volcanic rock anchors one such thread, which soars up to an unhearing bronze ear, pinned to the silence of the empty wall.
Translated from Spanish by Michele Faguet.
— Maria Iñigo Clavo