João Vilhena's work is, and has always been, led by the interest he takes in the role of the beholder. For the artist a work is made by the look upon it, which activates it and creates its meaning. A virtuoso of the pencil and the word, João Vilhena feints, hides, substitutes end disguises without ever unveiling what lies beyond. To this purpose he uses different "stuff" like optical illusions, trompe l'oeils or anamorphoses, and in the works' titles spoonerisms, anagrams and other word games. The trompe−l'oeil drawings of João Vilhena have almost no relief. The artist applies himself to the detailed reproduction of all sorts of paper (medical prescriptions, restaurant bills, post−its): through these curious drawings, Vilhena tries to challenge the observer, using trompe−l'oeil and the titles used related to his works. The artist also revisited some images of nineteenth century stereoscopic views.
Biographical notes translated with the support of the Centre national des arts plastiques - Cnap.