# 66 (Louro)

# 66 (Louro)
September 2, 2009 admin
Paulo Herkenhoff
Ludwig Wittgenstein’s crucial passage on the ineffable is in the preface to the Tractactus Logico-Philisophicus. ‘One must remain silent on that which cannot be spoken of’. Perhaps the best thing would be to look at the black rectangle and remain silent on this which almost, or very much beyond, the zero level of vision. What afflicts us and reduces us to silence? Space or absence? Would what afflicts us thus be, on the contrary, the excess of invisibility? João Louro’s Blind Image #66 is mixed up with the F-117 Nighthawk, the first military aircraft ‘designed to exploit stealth technology, of low observability; it penetrates high risk air space and uses laser-guided weapons against critical targets’. Both are marked by which indicates ‘the quantity of surface of a painting or an aircraft when detected by radar emissions’. There is no colour nor light: ‘colour blinds’. If it were a field, it would be a plantation of Tulipa obscura. Louro annuls the optical unconscious and scourges the oculo-centric system of vision1. This ‘not looking’ is vunerability. The less visibility an object like Blind Image # 66, or an aeroplane like the F-117 Nighthwak, has, the less chance an observer, or a radar detection system, has to identify and strike, respectively, the painting on display or the approaching aircraft. Starting from Merleau-Ponty, the F-117 or # 66 seem to take their place in the phenomenological chink between the visible and the invisible. # 66 evokes Milton’s Paradise Lost. The observer is a Blind Runner before the dark emptiness in the experience of ‘visible darkness’. The object only just brings abut the inevitable discrepancy between significance and signifier. # 66 could be the site of the Beckett scene or the extreme dissolution of the shapeless. Here, Dead End is the crossroads that places the reader a long way from the scene2. In its genesis, Dead End creates a sadistic perversion in this thrust of death in a black field. The extreme is right before the eyes: a linear concept of history runs out. Outside space and time, essentialism could be the prediction of the end.
Captions are added. Then a frame with glass isolates painting #66 from the world and creates a black, almost imperceptible mirror. #66 is similar to the technologies of war and those of terror (Paul Virilio, The Vision Machine). João Louro could almost be writing through a badly quoted and incomplete Ad Reinhardt, not Picasso. ‘My work represents the triumph of the forces of darkness […] over the power of light’. There is no desire or space for the emergence of the phantasmal, so what afflicts us and reduces us to silence before this sphinx-form?
Starting from #66, the significant abyss is accentuated. In the economy of terror following 11 September, the book La procédur du silence by Paul Virilio (2000) was translated into to English by Continuum: New York and Londod, under the title Art and Fear (2003). The schizophrenic moral of capitalism is accumulation; Reinhardt’s reduction and Minimalism cannot but terrorise with their etic of gain: ‘less is more’. João Louro gives the monochrome new meaning with #66 on the opposite side to the profitability promoted by the industry of fear. And this is a screen breaking down and an uncertain writing. Louro subverts Ad Reinhardt’s Twelve rules for a new academy (1957)3. The glass of the frame on the black picture # 66 swallows the world like a mirror. The caption, taken from Time (‘Time goes to War’) is inscribed under the Tower-picture: ‘At 9:02 am., with the north tower of the World Trade Center already in flames, United Airlines flight 175 slams into the south tower’. For the mediated observer, there is no time dimension: between the sensational event an the stultifying ‘information bomb’ (Paul Virilio). It was 9:02. This is light. Between the Freudian instincts to dominate (Bemachtigungstrieb) and the destructive ones (Destruktionstrib), there is no past4 nor future5. #66 is the entropic crux between the expected and collapse6.

Paulo Herkenhoff
Rio de Janeiro, 5 Abril 2005.

1 These are references to Rosalind Krauss and David Michel Levin respectively.
2 Dead End is a work by João Louro. Here he places the observer a long way from Sade, Benjamim, Wittgenstein, Beckett or Battaille, according to the road signs with their names.
3 The black field of #66, after having been like an extreme picture of Reinhardt, has no texture, forms, design, colours, light, space, time. Size or scale, movement, no object, no subject, no matter, no symbols, images, or signs.There is not even any scale. Neither pleasure nor pain. No mindless working or non-working.
4 Nadine Robinson’s installation Tower Hollers (2002) puts music and works in relation. During her studies at the World Trade Center’s World Views she portrayed the Towers as a representation of the world economy. Robinson dealt with the work conditions of the poor Afro-American, Latin and European immigrants who at the time (1999) worked for 455 companies/lessors of th WTC. Tower Hollers associates Muzak, aimed the contemporary productivity, with the old work songs sung by condemned blacks in the prison fields of Texas.
5 In the installation Nocturne (tulipa obscura) (2002), Iñigo Maglano-Ovalle uses complex optical devices, such as military night vision lenses to introduce a reference to Milton’s Paradise Lost and give visibility to that which is hidden from sight in the games of power, examining our Knowledge of the facts in the opaque, greenish blend of news on the war in Afghanistan.
6 Blind Image #66 (2004) by João Louro is located in the field of history. At the moment qhen Krronos devours his children, it lies, therefore, between Tower Hollers (2002) by Nadine Robinson and Nocturne (tulipa obscura) by Iñigo Maglano_ovalle.