João Penalva

João Penalva

Trondheim kunstmuseum

João Penalva, Men Asleep, 2012. Found printed image transferred to 35mm slide. Courtesy the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London/Hong Kong.

September 10, 2014

João Penalva
20 September 2014–18 May 2015

Opening: 20 September, 1pm
Artist talk: 21 September, 1pm

Trondheim kunstmuseum
Bispegata 7 B
7013 Trondheim
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday
T +47 73 53 81 80

Trondheim kunstmuseum is proud to present the first exhibition of João Penalva’s work in Norway. The exhibition will feature recent works, including his major installation Men Asleep (2012), shown for the first time in a European institutional setting, and the new work People On Air (2014).
A recurring theme in Penalva’s work is the exhibition as a medium and its suggestive potential. Carefully selected objects and photographs are presented with captions and narrative texts, which soon make the viewer wary of their authenticity, and ultimately the authenticity of what is being displayed. This is achieved by subtle means, usually in the accompanying texts. The generous use of anecdote in the description of an object’s provenance can gradually become implausible, as in the text accompanying Monument (2011), or threaten to occlude the depicted object as in the series Display Stands (2011).
The objects in Penalva’s works are often the equipment used in different kinds of presentations: display stands, photographic apparatus, theatre costumes and light projectors. In other works the subjects seem to have stumbled into the framework of display: furniture, people in found photographs and, in one work in the exhibition, an early 20th-century photograph of a pig shown as a 16mm film.
Men Asleep (2012) is a double slide projection of found photographs of men who have fallen asleep in public, at family gatherings or among friends. A loud soundtrack of rain and thunder accompanies these quiet images, which the viewer is invited to see while lounging on worn sofas and armchairs. Most of the photographs have a dated air and seem to have been taken either in a spirit of fondness or friendly mockery. “… every image of the past that is not recognized by the present as one of its own concerns threatens to disappear irretrievably,” Walter Benjamin wrote in his “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” It is as if Penalva has snatched his images and objects from the brink of that disappearing, and woven new narratives around them to save them.
João Penalva lives and works in London. He represented Portugal in the XXIII Bienal Internacional de São Paulo, 1996; and in the XLIX Biennale di Venezia, 2001. He has also exhibited in the Berlin Biennale 2, 2001; and the Biennale of Sydney, 2002. Solo institutional exhibitions include Camden Arts Centre, London, and Tramway, Glasgow, 2000; The Power Plant, Toronto, 2003; Serralves Museum, Oporto, and Ludwig Museum Budapest, 2005; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2006; Lunds Konsthall, Lund, 2010; Centro de Arte Moderna, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, 2011.
A selection of Penalva’s films will be screened at Nova Cinema, Trondheim:
17 November, 6pm
The Roar of Lions (2007), The White Nightingale (2005), and 336 PEK (336 Rivers) (1998)
24 November, 6pm
Kitsune (The Spirit of the Fox) (2001) and The Bell-Ringer (2005)
On the occasion of João Penalva’s exhibition, Trondheim kunstmuseum will publish a book designed by the artist.
João Penalva at Trondheim kunstmuseum
RSVP for João Penalva
Trondheim kunstmuseum
September 10, 2014

Thank you for your RSVP.

Trondheim kunstmuseum will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.