Graduated from Villa Arson, in Nice, João Vilhena practices drawing and painting from a neo-conceptual position. His 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, and disguises without ever unveiling what lies beyond. To this purpose, he uses different means like optical illusions, trompe l'oeils or anamorphoses, as well as works' titles spoonerisms, anagrams, and other word games.
The artist has exhibited in several venues such as Drawing Now Art Fair, Paris (2023); Galerie Alberta Pane (2023, 2022, 2020, 2015); Centre culturel et sportif La Tour à Plomb, Bruxelles (2021); Spazio Berlendis, Venice (2021); OMM - Odunpazarı Modern Museum, Eskisehir, Turkey (2021); Galleria Alberta Pane, Venice (2019, 2017); Drawing Now Art Fair, Paris (2019); La Traverse Contemporary Art Center, Alfortville, France (2015); Fondation Vuitton, Paris (2015); URDLA, Villeurbanne, France (2015), 13th Lyon Biennale (2015); Galeria Starter, Warsaw (2014); Centre Colombrier, Rennes (2014); Saffir Galerie Nomade, Marsaille (2012), among others.
João Vilhena's work is featured in the 2018 Hazan Guide to Contemporary Art by Roxana Azimi. In 2015, he published the catalog Frictions et cri de soie with texts by Roxana Azimi, Léa Bismuth, Anne Collongues, Charline Guibert, Frédéric Farrucci, Jérémie Scheidler, Marie Lisel and Tristan Trémeau.
His work is also part of the collection of the CNAP (Centre National des arts plastiques, France), the Rothschild Bank collection in Lisbon, Portugal, and the OMM - Odunpazarı Modern Museum, Eskisehir, Turkey, as well as of numerous private collections.