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02 Dec 2008

João Penalva at Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin

Installation view of 'Khosoko-doro'-series
at Galerie Thomas Schulte
Courtesy: Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin

João Penalva


Exhibition until 23 December 2008

Opening hours:
Tue to Sat 12 am to 6 pm
and by appointment

+49 (0)30 20608990
+49 (0)30 206089910

Charlottenstrasse 24
10117 Berlin

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João Penalva calls himself a 'storyteller'. He is fascinated by the powers of the imagination to assert itself against reality and to cross the limits of the image and language. Accordingly, in his video works, photographs, objects, and installations, he combines language and image in a way that evokes in us other images that are often just as strong and present as those actually shown by the artist.

Penalva's training lies in painting and followed a conscious break with the theatre and the stage where he had worked for years as a professional dancer. At the same time, his exclusive interest in painting expressed then a rejection of installation art that seemed to him too close to some forms of theatricality. Yet, some 20 years later, he felt that painting alone could not convey the complexitiy of his multi-layered narratives and, in a return to the theatrical formats that he had estranged himself from, opened to film, video, text, and installation. He developed his now typical way of working, deconstructing narrative structures in the collage of image, text, and language.

The exhibition at Galerie Thomas Schulte in Berlin shows the video-installation LIGHT-BEAM (2007), photographic-based works from the series KHOSOKO-DORO (2006-2008), as well as the slide and video projection PAVLINA, from 2007. Presented as 'an entertainment' PAVLINA takes us to the results of scientific research on how one's professional life creeps back into one's dreams after one has retired. But again Penalva seduces his audience into the visualization of images of other places, other people, and other times alongside those being projected, forcing us to question the appearance of reality as a fiction.

Born in Lisbon in 1949, João Penalva has lived and worked in London since 1976. He represented Portugal at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1996 and at the Venice Biennial in 2001. In 2003, he was a guest of the DAAD's Berlin Artist Program. Many museum exhibitions have already focused on his work. Most recently significant mid-career exhibitions were held at the Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick (2007), Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin, 2006) and Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (Porto, 2005), and Ludwig Museum (Budapest, 2005). Penalva's debut in Berlin took place at the 2001 Berlin Biennale, and in 2007 DAAD-Galerie presented his video THE ROAR OF LIONS. Additional important individual exhibitions include: The Power Plant (Toronto, 2003), Rooseum Centre for Contemporary Art (Malmö, 2002), Camden Art Centre (London, 2000), Tramway (Glasgow, 2000), Contemporary Art Center (Vilnius, 2000), Galerie im Taxispalais (Innsbruck, 2000), Centro Cultural de Belem (Lisbon, 1999), and Frac Languedoc-Roussillon (Montpellier, 1999).