Galerie Alberta Pane, 47 rue de Montmorency, 75003 Paris ,s
September 3, October 12, 2022

Alberta Pane Gallery is pleased to present João Vilhena’s third solo exhibition in the Parisian venue.

João Vilhena finds most of his subjects by collecting old photos, stereoscopies, and postcards, which play a central role in his work. Postcards and holiday snapshots are therefore bearers of memories, of a saudade, and evoke both the distance and the attachment to a place of belonging. A stereoscopic view* is for him, above all, a scopic impulse. Over the years, these photo-objects have become one of the artist’s field of research of his graphic journey .
João Vilhena’s work is also guided by his interest in the role of the viewer. Indeed, according to the artist, the gaze is what creates and gives a meaning to the artwork. The artist’s drawings, created with extreme precision and accuracy, engage with the viewer, proposing both visual puns, such as trompe-l’oeil and anamorphosis, and word games, such as spoonerisms and anagrams, thus creating a close link between images and words.
Moreover, João Vilhena’s works present a strong erotic charge that can be defined as the impulse that generates the desire to look. According to the words of the artist:
“Whoever produces an erotic image touches, immanently, the issue of representation”. In the context of this research, libido, the scopic and death drive, sacrifice and other
taboos have inspired his work for several years, including the exhibition Erotheism, Sacred Drawing presented in 2015 at Alberta Pane Gallery.
On the occasion of his new exhibition, Beau à la louche, João Vilhena’s drawings enter into a fictional dialogue with the imaginary field that stems from the theme of water. The exhibition is inspired by the absurd thought exercise of Sir Walter Raleigh, who claimed to be able to calculate the weight of smoke by subtracting the weight of the ashes from the weight of the cigar. In the wake of Sir Walter Raleigh thinking, João Vilhena argues that if up to 60 percent of the human body is composed of water and this is renewed by an average of 2.4 liters per day, how much desire is contained in this liquid when we talk about having mouth-watering (L’eau à la bouche)?

Therefore, Sir Walter Raleigh’s theory has played an important role in Joao Vilhena’s new drawings. The latter are inspired by photos of summer vacations at seaside resorts. These images, with sweeping sea views, conceal in themselves moments of carefree serenity.
Happy vacationers show their uninhibited bodies and sometimes dare some acrobatics. Praise of laziness and freedom, these images inspire sensuality and voluptuousness. Some of them get carried away and do not hesitate to kiss in front of the camera. Others seem to
be waiting only for that… In this exhibition, the artist invites us to plunge into an atmosphere at once nostalgic and erotic. Therefore, the artist’s love for enigmas is mixed with written and visual language, ultimately configuring itself as a “cartography of desire”. * Stereoscopic vision is an image-making technique, which conveys an illusion of three-dimensionality, similar to that generated by the binoclard vision of the human visual system.

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