João Penalva

8 December 2010 - 29 January 2011

Simon Lee Gallery is delighted to announce its first solo show by the renowned London-based, Portuguese artist João Penalva.

João Penalva is known for producing 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 Penalva addresses narrative modes and the relationships between images, text, language and sound. His storytelling is often fractured, presenting juxtaposed narrative elements, allowing the viewer a latitude of freedom in their interpretation.

This inaugural exhibition will include works ranging from 2004 to 2010: the 16mm film projection, Pig (2004); a video projection, Lightbeam (2007); Petit Verre (2007), a processor automated shadow theatre with sound; and Dokumentarfilm (2004), a video work that shows the delicate movement of mist in a forest. Seen together for the first time these works will challenge the viewer's perception of projected images.

Alongside these works the artist will also present new photographs and his ongoing series of artist's books. In his photographs, which are often accompanied by texts, Penalva focuses on the form and texture of sometimes mysterious, indeterminable objects. Like his hour-long films, spoken in obscure languages, his photographs are difficult to place in time. Mainly in black and white, they can be read as translations, or interpretations of stories, objects and history. Penalva's artist's books range from collections of found images taken from his eclectic archive and edited in cinematic rhythms, to his own photographs of, for instance, the movement of water and clouds.

Penalva is concurrently exhibiting a large-scale installation, Widow Simone (Entr'acte, 20 years), 1996, at the Hayward Gallery, London in 'Move: Choreographing You' (13 October 2010 - 9 January 2011). This work was first shown at the XXIII Bienal Internacional de São Paulo, in 1996.

João Penalva was born in Lisbon in 1949 and has lived and worked in London since 1976. He was awarded the DAAD Berlin Artist's Residency in 2003/2004. He represented Portugal in the XXIII Bienal Internacional de São Paulo, 1996, and in the XLIX Biennale di Venezia, 2001. He exhibited also in the Berlin Biennale 2, 2001, and the 2002 Biennale of Sydney. Other solo exhibitions include: Camden Arts Centre, London; Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius; Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck; Tramway, Glasgow, 2000; Rooseum, Malmö, 2002; Institute of Visual Arts, Milwaukee, and The Power Plant, Toronto, 2003; Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Oporto, and Ludwig Museum Budapest, 2005; Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2006; DAAD Gallery, Berlin, and Mead Gallery, University of Warwick, England, in 2007; Lunds Konsthall, Lund, Sweden, 2010.

Forthcoming retrospective exhibitions will take place at Centro de Arte Moderna, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, in 2011, and Brandts Kunsthallen, Odense, Denmark, in 2012.