João Louro | Blind Image #63

Aug 23 - Sep 30, 2023 ONE | 1955 Julian Avenue
Installation Views
João Louro is a Lisbon-based artist who frames his work around fragments of film, literature, music, and current events. Louro’s work descends from minimal and conceptual art, with special regard for avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century. Regularly returning to language, signs and symbols as a source, he studies the construction of images and how viewers relate to them in his paintings, films, photographs, and sculptures. In his series of “Blind Image” paintings, Louro captions monochromatic or abstracted canvases with borrowed, at times poetic texts from these spaces, removing all context except the viewer’s point of reference and subsequent perspective. A layer of highly reflective acrylic creates distance between itself and the spectator, while also behaving like a mirror. Combined with the text, Louro prods the viewer to do the work of image-making and reproduction. 
The text in Blind Image #63 refers to the halfway point of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1955), where the protagonist Humbert Humbert expounds on the merits of the conventional motel which, plot aside, may invoke the cinematic aura of 1950s Americana in our collective imagination. The original plot, portraying a man’s obsessive desire and kidnapping of his 12 year-old stepdaughter, has itself been reproduced and interpreted in film twice, as well as in operas, ballets, and musicals. In manners of looking at art, the act of searching for reason or explanation behind an image often becomes the first step in an order of operations. Louro, knowing the impulse to seek truth and meaning, inverts this process by providing an allusion but no image. 
João Louro was born in 1963, in Lisbon, Portugal, where he later studied both architecture and painting. Louro was the Portuguese representative at the 2015 Venice Biennale with the exhibition I Will Be Your Mirror | Poems and Problems, and continues to exhibit extensively across Europe. He has exhibited in San Diego as a part of the InSITE Biennial (2005), and his work is in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. 
Selected Works