João Penalva was born in Lisbon in 1949. Lives and works in London since 1976, where he studied at Chelsea Scool of Art. He was invited to the DAAD residence program in Berlin in 2003 and 2004.
He represented Portugal at the XXIII São Paulo Internacional Bienal in 1996 and at the XLIX Biennale di Venezia, in 2001. His work was exhibited at Berlin Biennale 2 and I Melbourne International Biennial, in 2001, and at the 11th Biennale of Sydney, in 2002.
His solo exhibitions include: Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, and I Melbourne International Biennial, in 1999; Camden Arts Centre, London; Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius; Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria; Tramway, Glasgow, in 2000; Rooseum, Malmö, Sueden, in 2002; Institute of Visual Arts, Milwaukee, and The Power Plant, Toronto, in 2003; Museu Serralves, Oporto, and Ludwig Museum, Budapest, in 2005; Irish Museum of Modern Art, in 2006; DAAD Gallery, Berlim, and Mead Gallery, University of Warwick, England, em 2007; Solar — Galeria de Arte Cinemática, Vila do Conde, Portugal, 2008.