João Penalva
1949, Lisboa

João Penalva was born in Lisbon in 1949. He studied at the Chelsea School of Art in London, where he has lived and worked since 1976. He was awarded the DAAD Berlin Artist's Residency in 2003. He represented Portugal at the XXIII São Paulo International Biennial, 1996, and at the XLIX Biennale di Venezia, 2001. He also participated in the Berlin Biennale 2, 2001 and the Biennale of Sydney, 2002. His solo exhibitions include: CCB, Lisbon, 1999; Camden Arts Centre, London; Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius; Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck and Tramway, Glasgow, 2000; Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö, 2002; Institute of Visual Arts, Milwaukee and The Power Plant, Toronto, 2003; Museu de Serralves, Porto and Ludwig Museum Budapest, 2005; IMMA, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2006; DAAD Gallery, Berlin and Mead Gallery, University of Warwick, England, 2007; Lunds Konsthall, Lund and Chiado 8, Lisbon, 2010; CAM, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, 2011; Brandts Kunsthallen, Odense, 2012; Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Trondheim, 2014. His work is present in several public collections, such as: Arts Council Collection, London; Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Banco de España, Madrid, Spain; Dresdner Bank, Germany; Fonds Régional d'Art Contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier, France ; Fundación ARCO, Madrid, Spain; Fundación Coca Cola, Madrid, Spain; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; KIASMA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland; MUDAM - Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg; South Londres Gallery, London; Centro de Artes Visuales Helga de Alvear, Cáceres, Spain; and ARTIUM Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

After an initial course connected to contemporary dance between 1968 and 1976, joining Pina Bausch's company (1973-74) and creating with Jean Pomares the The Moon Dance Company (1976), attended the Chelsea School of Art (1976-81), in London, with a grant from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, where he has been living since then. He began by dedicating himself to painting, however, from the 90s on, he began to work on other mediafilm, photography and installation, building a corpus of work in which the word and the image are structural. The themes that run through his work resort to a multiplicity of media such as literature, the ready-made or archival material and usually involve a thorough research work that is integrated into the concept of the final work. The communicational process in its diversity and heterogeneity is one of the preponderant elements of her work, explored both from a formal and theoretical point of view, in complex real and fictional narratives. Penalva is known for making large-scale installations in various media, as well as more intimate works with video and slide projections, sound, drawing, painting and found materials. Through these media, she addresses narrative modes and the relationships between images, text, language and sound. Her storytelling is often fractured, presenting juxtaposed narrative elements, allowing the viewer a latitude of freedom in their interpretation.


Selected Works

Some of the best


Group Exhibition | Maré

Under the title "Maré", the present exhibition takes as its starting point the core of artists represented by Galeria Filomena Soares.

João Penalva

Galeria Filomena Soares is pleased to present an exhibition by João Penalva.

João Penalva

Galeria Filomena Soares is pleased to present the most recent individual exhibition of the artist JOÃO PENALVA (Lisbon, 1949).

João Penalva

"In his works, João Penalva deals with real events that he investigates down to the last detail, to associate them with fictional ideas and discourses that he transmits through texts. The references he incorporates are carefully thought out, be they people, places, films, texts or music."

João Penalva

In his second solo exhibition at the gallery, João Penalva is presenting two series of large-scale digital pigment prints.



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