After studying philosophy and an involvement in social activism during the eighties, Javier Peñafiel (Zaragoza, 1964) came to art by taking part in workshops at the Quinzena d’Art Contemporani de Montesquiu (QUAM), Vic, the Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, and Arteleku, Donostia. He lives and works between Barcelona and Mallorca. Peñafiel’s installations incorporate objects, drawings, images and texts; performative conferences and dramatised readings; dramatic texts for video; artist books and publications. His work is constructed as a reflection on the contemporary subject and as a critique of the founding myths of modernity. Irony and humour, but also nihilism and the absurd nature of the everyday, articulate a heterogeneous body of work that advocates rebellion and critical non-submission. Central importance is given to language, which incorporates a metaphysical and poetic ability to reveal the hidden face of the subject, reality and language itself.

He has exhibited in the Museo Pablo Serrano, Zaragoza (2004); Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, Brazil (2006); Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt (2007); São Paulo Biennial (2008); La Panera, Lleida (2011); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile (2014); and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Castilla y León (2016). His work is included in the collections of ”la Caixa”, CGAC, Santiago de Compostela; MUSAC, León; Museu de Granollers; and MACBA, Barcelona, among others.

Visit the ongoing display
I like to work with what is often called "cultural heritage", but the materials that I use are banal and clichéd, like sugar blocks, doors, couscous, rugs, official documents.
Latifa Echakhch