João Louro  / I Will Be Your Mirror / Poems and Problems

Portugal - Biennale Arte 2015

Palazzo Loredan, Campo Santo Stefano, Venice

Palazzo Loredan
The Portugal Pavilion is at the beautifull Palazzo Loredan, in Campo Santo Stefano, and presents the exhibition, I Will Be Your Mirror / Poems and Problems, by João Louro
I'll Be Your Mirror
The motto of the exhibition, I’ll be your mirror, is taken from a song by the Velvet Underground. The lyrics of the song, spread over a series of light-bulbs, receive and at the same time bid farewell to the visitors in that which is both the first and last room. Using illuminated words or phrases has been a recurring factor in João Louro's work, and as in other works disappearance is as far away as that of a gesture: turning off the light.   

In the photograph taken in Miami Airport in 2005, João Louro is waiting for the arrival of Walter Benjamin. This image introduces into the course of the exhibition, which refers us back to the recurring themes of his work: invisibility and absence…

The works Dead Ends are related to the challenge of language. In them Louro uses road signs as symbols that are automatically recognisable; it is only later that the spectator reaches the second level of reading, which are their contents. This variable language is no more than a possibility open to establishing new conditions for the producing of meaning. The Dead Ends stand as objects, at the same as being concepts, due to their strong physical component. 

In this case Louro has used parts of the text of the Tchaikovsky opera Iolanta, a work which deals with blindness, or the impossibility of seeing, and of the use of language in order to grant a form to landscape, to light and to the sky. In short, to describe the world that surrounds us.

In the series Blind Images the spectator is faced with a canvas on which the image has been erased. These series help us to understand that the distance between words and images is not so great that as that which exists between words and objects, or between culture and nature.

In this case we are looking at an enormous "photographic film" that contains the few existing photographs of Maurice Blanchot (a writer who was always careful about maintaining his privacy and his image). Throughout this work we may get to know these images through a text that alludes to or describes the photo that has been eliminated, thus provoking different approaches to the visible or diverse views through which one may approach an image.

In these two works the eliminated image is the only existing photo of Arthur Rimbaud as an adult, who, like Blanchot, never wanted to be photographed. The relevance that Louro grants to the language that describes the image even further stresses the importance of literature, poetry and suggests.

In these works reality is hidden beneath a layer of glossy acrylic paint, over which there is a glass panel that produces the effect of a mirror in which the spectator is reflected, thus making the spectators a part of the work.

The creased map leaves a somewhat disturbing message, as although it allows very distant parts to be connected, as if reorganising the world, making it one, as the creasing shortens the distances, on the other hand it is an "emblem of the contemporary world that does not guide  and is disorientating”.
Mirror Ladder
The Mirror Ladder, apparently the same as so many others staircases we know, but in relation to which Louro has negated its function, making it impossible to be used, but, just as in the blind images, the spectator is again the protagonist when being reflected in it.
In these works Louro reproduces book covers, greatly increasing their size, in order to lead us into the reading of all his literary, poetic and philosophical idols, and thus constructing with them a space in which he may live
The End
The exhibition ends with the announcing of the end, with the work The End, referring us back to the imaginary of Hollywood, 
Credits: Story

Curator: María de Corral

Photography: João Miranda
Image Treatment: We Blend

Credits: All media
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