João de Almeida

João de Almeida » Exhibitions » Lisbon 2004

Lisbon 2004

Hellmut Wohl,
Emeritus Professor of Art History at Boston University

I thought when João de Almeida first showed me his drawings, and I think so even more energetically now that I see them again, that they are both beautiful as drawings and unique in their response to the forms of nature. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they are beautiful as drawings because of their response to the forms of nature. If I were to describe or characterize this response the word I would use is tactile.
The most fundamental respect in which João’s drawings are unique is that they convey a sense of cliffs not as inanimate objects but as living beings. João’s hand follows and modulates the hollows, protrusions, and the rising and falling cadences of cliffs as if they were living and breathing bodies.


João Bénard da Costa,
Director of Portuguese Film Archive - Film Museum

On first impression, everything in these drawings is familiar to us. We recognise the depicted places and objects, as well as light, space and time. But the more we look at them, the more everything becomes unreal and phantasmal.
For me, the world of these drawings is a world of concealment and occultation. Not in the sense that the artist is avoiding what he has depicted and seen, but in the sense that figures and visions intermingle, making it impossible to say what is real, more than real or less than real. Is everything magical or has everything become magical through the way it was depicted, framed, staged? In these black and white pastel drawings, the abolition of colour is not due to the materials used (João de Almeida could have used coloured pastels), but rather to the fact that resorting to colour would heighten their realism or unrealism. And these magnificent drawings, while having nothing to do with realism, have also nothing to do with its lack. They are drawings of the opposite, in which we are not sure of anything, except vision.

painting painting painting

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