Graduated from Villa Arson, Vilhena practices drawing and painting from a neoconceptual 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.
João Vilhena has recently exhibited his works in Drawing Now Art Fair, Paris (2019). His drawings were also on show in Les yeux qui louchent, at Alberta Pane gallery in Venice and in Disparition, with Romina De Novellis, at Alberta Pane Gallery in Paris (2017). In 2016 he took part in Une partie de campagne, weekend d’art contemporain at Chassagne-Montrachet, with Alberta Pane Gallery. The year before that, Vilhena’s work was on show in Les fragments de l’amour, at CAC la Traverse Centre d’Art Contemporain, in Alfortville, in France. Moreover, he had three exhibitions in Paris: La main qui dessinait toute seule, at the Galerie Magda Danysz, Recto/Verso at Fondation Louis Vuitton and Érothéisme, le dessin sacré at Alberta Pane Gallery, where he was on show also in 2014 with 3 Days in Paris. In 2014 he exhibited in Paris 23 rue de la Boétie. In 2012 he was on show in Plutôt comme un soupçon que comme una certitude at the Saffir Galerie Nomade, in Marseille, and in TOUT doit disparaître, at the Atelier des Vertus in Paris. In 2011 he exhibited Deux lunes a l’autre at Alberta Pane in Paris and ICI NICE in Nice.
In 2010 he was on show at Saffir Galerie Nomade in Marseille in Il n’y a pas de mot comme équivalent and in Blow up, with Eleonora Aguiari and Igor Eškinja, at the Parisian Alberta Pane Gallery.