Cover #20 (O Captial 1) and Cover #21 (O Capital 2), 2015, installation view, Atelier Museu Júlio Pomar, Lisbon, Portugal, 2018
João Louro is featured in the exhibition, What can art do? 50 years of May 1968 Atelier Museu Júlio Pomar in Lisbon, Portugal. This exhibition recalls and commemorates the 50th anniversary of the French student movement. This revolutionary dynamic spread to various sectors of society, revealing a fundamental moment for the definition of contemporary life – less so in terms of the legislative and political changes produced in the immediate aftermath, but more prominently by the way in which the old hierarchical, classicist and authoritarian social order was questioned. May 1968 became the symbol of a new social order, which concerned not only academic relations but all social, political, economic and cultural institutions. The artistic expression of this student movement was one of its most productive aspects – in cinema, in literature and in the visual arts.
Júlio Pomar, living in Paris at that time, was influenced by the spirit of 1968 and created an important group of paintings, in which he expressed the art-political articulation that was so close to him in the 1940s. What can art do? 50 years of May 1968, shows how Pomar directly witnessed and was influenced by the student movements, while also seeking to reflect on the political influence that was prevalent throughout his career.
What can art do? 50 years of May 1968 is not a historical exhibition, but rather it questions the ways in which art is influenced by politics and how this influence is such an intense territory for artists. Alongside Pomar, and the paintings he produced in the years spanning 1946 to 1968, are works by Ana Vidigal, Carla Filipe, João Louro, Jorge Queiroz, Ramiro Guerreiro and Tomás da Cunha Ferreira. These works not only dialogue with the universe of the Pomar, but also respond to the idea of a city becoming alive when its citizens go out into the street and act as a single body, assuming a common voice. The exhibition presents examples of how artists respond to political unrest by posing the overarching question "What can art do about this?"