João Távora | mostly drawing

João Távora Lisboa, 1981 (Contact)

A drawing is both a mundane and a bizarre thing. It’s mundane because we can find tiny drawings on paper napkins or colossal drawings on the wall of a room, the kind made silently by a dedicated child when we weren’t looking. A drawing can portray a grandiose mythological episode, a trivial burlesque feat, or be but a scribble and represent nothing at all.

Why bizzare? A drawing can certainly have a narrative antecedent, but, as John Berger puts it, it contains a different time from what is portrayed. Vaster than the time of its making, it is, unreasonably, a perpetual present. A drawing is the residue of a continuous assault of mark-making not only onto the surface but indeed into it. Regardless of the extent of the onslaught, of how “finished” it looks, the final mark is always the mark of having been abandoned.

It is the story of these mishaps, anchored precariously onto thin paper, that sometimes mysteriously looks back at us. A drawing is the palpable record of a love afair, however brief, with the language of drawing itself (João Távora, 2017)