João Louro

(Portugal, 1963)


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In The Jewell/In God We Trust, Joao Louro reveals the complex dynamics of recycling and exchange that characterize the border region by employing the metaphor of a car and by manipulating the role that symbolic capital plays in the global economy. The project began with Louro selecting a dilapidated Jaguar model V6, which he recovered from a junkyard in Tijuana and transformed into a “jewel,” endowing it with a new skin of gold leaf. Once the car was transformed into a “luxury object”—a golden sculpture—the car-jewel was exhibited at the Ferrari dealership in La Jolla and, later, auctioned as an artwork in San Diego. The money raised through the auction was delivered to an elementary school in Tijuana, where the students used the banknotes as drawing material. Transformed into intervened currency, the “vehicle” took on another life, which was just as complex in terms of symbolic meaning. The money was then redistributed and recycled back into the economic flows of the border region, crossing back into San Diego and reentering the US economy.

Curators: Osvaldo Sánchez and Tania Ragasol
Venues: Ferrari and Maserati of San Diego; Haudenschild Garage, La Jolla