João Louro, Rimbaud's Spell, 2007
João Louro is featured in the exhibition Zéro de Conduite at Museu de Serralves in Porto, Portugal. Incorrigible, undesirable, unruly — what conduct does the museum repress? Zéro de Conduite presents gestures of irreverence or disobedience in the Serralves Collection, either directed at institutions such as the school or the museum, or forms of suppression or control. From irony and subterfuge, to the disrespect for the rules of proper taste or good behaviour, the exhibition looks to the potential of acting against the norm. As intractable subjects, disagreeable images, and ungovernable objects, the works on view reflect a complex variety of strategies employed — from theft as appropriation, to the refusal of the conventions of art — as artistic and spatial forms of resistance.
In the 1933 film Zéro de Conduite by Jean Vigo, the students of a repressive school rebel against the strict rules of behaviour imposed by their tyrannical teachers. In the museum too are we rarely ever invited to run, touch, or even sit; public space is increasingly subject to forms of iconoclasm and restriction. Featuring an intergenerational group of artists utilizing a wide variety of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, prints, drawings, sound, and installation, the exhibition surveys a range of behaviours and subjects from the 1960s until today, from those which are supposedly to be corrected or censured, to the normalization of violence, and claims to accident, amateurism, and anti-virtuosity. In doing so, the works in the exhibition resonate with many of the conditions of our present political reality, while also asking who gets to misbehave or transgress, and how and why.