João Penalva

Portuguese, b. 1949

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João Penalva

Portuguese, b. 1949

327
Followers
Biography

João Penalva is known for his hour-long films spoken in languages like Hungarian and Esperanto. In 336 PEK (336 Rivers) (1999), a shot of a grassy park crisscrossed by walkers and joggers is accompanied by English subtitles, while a growly male voice recounts a variety of fables and tales in Russian, including the names of 277 of the 336 rivers that feed Siberia’s Lake Baikal. Penalva’s work—including performance, installation, photography, drawing, painting, and artist’s books—explores the fractured, changeable relationships among images, text, language, and sound, highlighting each element’s theatrical and narrative possibility. Recently, he has presented formal photographs of mysterious, indeterminable objects paired with captions. A former dancer who studied under Pina Bausch, Penalva is also influenced by the theories and work of dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, and artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Group
Group show at a major institution
K20 Grabbeplatz
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 2 more
Biography

João Penalva is known for his hour-long films spoken in languages like Hungarian and Esperanto. In 336 PEK (336 Rivers) (1999), a shot of a grassy park crisscrossed by walkers and joggers is accompanied by English subtitles, while a growly male voice recounts a variety of fables and tales in Russian, including the names of 277 of the 336 rivers that feed Siberia’s Lake Baikal. Penalva’s work—including performance, installation, photography, drawing, painting, and artist’s books—explores the fractured, changeable relationships among images, text, language, and sound, highlighting each element’s theatrical and narrative possibility. Recently, he has presented formal photographs of mysterious, indeterminable objects paired with captions. A former dancer who studied under Pina Bausch, Penalva is also influenced by the theories and work of dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, and artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Group
Group show at a major institution
K20 Grabbeplatz
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 2 more
Shows Featuring João Penalva