Lisbon, Portugal, 1981


João Távora: «A drawing is 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, such as those 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 bizarre? While it’s true that a drawing can tell of a “story”, or have some kind of narrative forerunner, it also contains its own time, a time different from what it may portray. This time is unreasonably vast, even vaster than the time it took to draw it: it is a kind of perpetual present. A drawing, or whatever residue is left after an assault of mark-making not only onto the surface but indeed into it. Regardless of the extent of this invasion, of how “finished” it looks, the final mark is always the mark of having been abandoned. It is the story of these accidents and mishaps, anchored precariously onto thin paper, that sometimes looks back at us».
A Burning Thing strikingly bears witness to this entanglement/estrangement of the draftsman ‘s attack on a narrative, with drawings that challenge those who observe them.