João Penalva

Liebe Inga, 2021

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Year 2021
Medium Ink on paper collage with stamped postcard
Dimensions 29.6 x 21.1
Top pick Aimee Dawson, The Art Newspaper

About the work

When I finished Liebe Inga I sent it in a wordless email to my friend Marcia E. Vetrocq, a writer in New York, hoping that it would pique her curiosity. She replied the following day saying:

Liebe Inga is a mystery I haven’t solved. I wore out the “rotate” function on my laptop to read the work from all sides. Who are these two friends, corresponding in the midst of war? What does the black redaction bar conceal? The postcard with the Hitler stamp is a small devastation, as is the postmark from the sad city of Danzig. If you google “Danzig”, the first listing is for an American band with that name. The second is for the 65-year-old rocker Glenn Danzig (born Glenn Allen Anzalone), who formed that band and others. As Vonnegut said again and again in Slaughterhouse Five, “so it goes.”. Now, if you google “so it goes” today, the first listing is for a Billy Joel video. The second is for a Rob Reiner comedy. So it goes.”.

About the artist:

Born 1949 Lisbon, João Penalva lives and works in London. Graduated from Chelsea School of Art (1976-1981).

João Penalva represented Portugal in the Bienal Internacional de São Paulo (1996), and the Venice Biennale (2001). He also exhibited in the Berlin Biennale (2001), Biennale of Sydney (2002), and Bienal de Cartajena de Indias, Colombia (2014).

His works are held in public and private collections including Arts Council England; South London Gallery; Towner Museum of Contemporary Art; Serralves Foundation; Gulbenkian Foundation; Berardo Museum; Ludwig Museum Budapest; Irish Museum of Modern Art; MUDAM, Luxembourg; KIASMA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Finland; FRAC Bretagne, Châteaugiron; FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims; FRAC Occitanie, Montpellier, France; Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt; and Western Bridge, The Bill and Ruth True Collection, Seattle.

Selected solo exhibitions include Camden Arts Centre, London (2000); Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2000); Tramway, Glasgow (2000); The Power Plant, Toronto (2003); Serralves Museum, Porto (2005); Ludwig Museum, Budapest (2005); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2006); Mead Gallery, University of Warwick (2007); Lunds Konsthall, Lund (2010); CAM, Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon (2011); Trondheim Kunstmuseum (2014); Mudam, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg (2018); Culturgest, Porto (2018); Lumiar Cité, Lisbon (2018); Mudam, Musée d’Art Moderne, Luxembourg (2018). Selected group exhibitions include Tate Modern; Hayward Gallery; Wellcome Collection; South London Gallery, London; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Staatliche, Kunstsammlungen, Dresden; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K21, Düsseldorf; Museu Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; MAAT Museum; and Berardo Museum, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Lisbon.

Awards include the DAAD Berlin Artist’s Residency (2003); The Bryan Robertson Trust Award, UK (2009); and the Paul Hamlyn Award (2020).

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