The written work of Paul Mendez is concerned with reportage and documentation, observation and preservation. It responds to taboos, mental illnesses that creep into the most neutral of minds, notions of beauty and piety, and the interactions between objects and people that reflect the balance of simple words in a sentence. It attempts to explore what is not said, what is suppressed, even what is not thought, to the end of finding knowledge and reason in time and space. Writing fulfils a series of functions, among them compartmentalisation, education, articulation and manipulation. Mendez writes to explain to himself what cannot be resolved through speech, and to set out ideas in definite places where they can be organised, elaborated and edited.
Writing, like drawing, is an immediate means of physical expression that can also be executed in a calculated, precise, fluent manner with patience, control and meditation. It can capture a moment, a fleeting, shameful thought, as if screamed aloud. Frustrated marks manifest themselves as speculative words and florid statements. Blocks of depth and texture form as the external environment changes. Ideas morph into one another. Narrative structures inter-bisect across multiple planes. The successful act of handwriting approximates that of drawing or any other performance, requiring similar qualities of control, manipulation, poise, rhythm and concentration as those of a ballet dancer, footballer, tennis player or painter, with its own unique aesthetic and temperament. As the viewer/voyeur watches, Mendez watches back and ‘draws’ with impunity, stealing from the viewer à la the Sonntag photograph.