Guest of honour: Joanna Concejo

Papier collé, The overlapping world

A shoe and a flower, a shell and a cloud,
a curtain and a sunset, a chair and a bud;
a frame and a window, thistles and eyes.
The drawing of a picture… Inner silence.

Graphemes of a visual script while waiting for its reading: ut pictura poësis.

Evanescence occupies a tiny fraction of time and objects are susceptible to it, they have layers of light-sensitive emulsion that detect everything that dwells in the silence of the observer. Memories of our being dwell in everything around us: our silent noises, our blind light, our soul. Joanna Concejo makes a portrait of all of this.

We speak of illustration and purely poetic systems. We approach each image with an intense feeling of possession, like a simulacrum, with disoriented naivety, because we know that inside, perhaps, we will find a particular truth that is a total vision of reality. There is so much hope in contemplation.

The act of reading, being a subjective experience, becomes a narrative unity, arousing dreams, fantasies and memories. Joanna’s images are precisely photographic embroideries of her poetics.

Born in 1971 in Slupsk in Poland, Joanna graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan. Since 1994 moved to Paris, France, where she still lives and works. In the late ‘90s she began working as an illustrator and plastic artist.

Here, a selection of works and books is brought together, proposing the aesthetics of an artist of reference in contemporary illustration. A tribute exhibition that allows us to investigate thought, aesthetics, technique, through her considerations. Walking through this series of works is a dialogue with her idea of books and illustration, and it is also to perceive the sensitive substance the artist creates with.

We find a proposal full of variations, of different densities, of tensions that contrast to form a fascinating papier collé. We also recognise a profound and poetic philosophy that unites opposites to compose a harmonious meekness in each illustration. There are the melancholy and the flower, the wild and the butterfly, the monochrome and the colour, the body and the cut, the meticulous drawing and the sketch, the light and the penumbra. An evocative world. As Gaston Bachelard would say, Joanna Concejo’s poetic “rêverie” is the one who illustrates.

A material embroidery of images and words that benevolently elaborates the universe shattered before our eyes. In the middle, a little girl drawn in pencil, fragile but persistent. The artist insists on pointing out the intensity of beauty. For John Berger, drawing is an autobiographical document. The reading of an image is an imagined autobiography of our “lost soul”.

Gabriel Pacheco


Illustration by Joanna Concejo, Senegal, Topipittori, 2022