Twenty-five years separate the first video work by Antoni Muntadas (Barcelona, 1942), Acciones (a study of the so-called sub-senses carried out from a series of experiments done between 1971 and 1973), and his latest episode of Political Advertisements (1984-1996), the fourth piece dedicated to analysing election campaigns in the United States, where he has lived since the 1970s. This selection presents these twenty-five years of video work by Muntadas, a pioneer in new audiovisual and electronic media and one of the most important directors, both nationally and internationally. The programme includes all of his video work, 21 single-channel pieces organised into nine programmes arranged chronologically, allowing the viewer to follow the evolution of his interest in the context of the media, which has influenced all of his work.
Since he stopped painting in the early 1970s, Antoni Muntadas’ career has consisted of studying, researching and examining the corpus of the mass media, or the media landscape, with a clinical eye. He cuts, dissects, and fragments the flow of television, film and video images (applying a specific treatment to each one), to reinsert the same images in such a way that new and often contradictory meaning is given to the initial message. This message/countermessage structure can be found in his works and installations, where the artistic context and montage determine the discourse. Muntadas’ work takes a deep look at different problems in society today from the private to the public sphere: industry and the media (and its tentacles) appear in his first video works; the socio-political network of the art world is analysed in his ambitious project Between the Frames (1994); the political context appears more specifically in Political Advertisements and in his installations The Board Room (1987), Stadium (1989-1993) and The File Room (1994); architecture and the urban scene take a leading role in his video Marseille: Mythes et Stéreotypes and his pieces Media Site /Media Monuments (1982), City Museum (1991-1994) and The Limousine Project (1991-1992).
In short, Muntadas’ works in this cycle make it clear that the media as a whole, according to its context and intentions, can serve as a pretext for art.