Although Blanca Muñoz’s (Madrid, 1963) work has changed much over the last years of the twentieth century, the idea of astral projection is still relevant in her metal structures. In this exhibition distributed between Espacio Uno and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía’s Sabatini Gardens, Muñoz presents three sculptures whose titles refer to astronomical objects. In the same way as many other artists of the twentieth century, Muñoz is fascinated by astrophysics and the organisation of forms in empty space. So much so, that her interest in cosmological theories led her to join the Madrid Astronomical Association. These theories have a decisive influence on her work.
Each piece in this exhibition has the name of an astronomical object and is presented as a landscape from a region in the universe. The artist sets reference points and establishes connections between them by welding steel rods to form the frame. Afterwards she adds variants like voices of a polyphonic composition which can become infinitely complex. Blanca Muñoz's work has earned her numerous awards, including the Premio Nacional de Grabado (National Prize for Print) in 1999.
Besides astrophysics, Muñoz’s sculpture is an heir of scientific constructivism inspired on physical-mathematical models as well as the lyrical constructivism of the constellations. Her first astronomical sculptures from 1993 have titles referring to the orientation towards the north-star or other parts of the sky. Thus the title of her exhibition at the Reina Sofía Museum: El universo transparente, refers to the microcosm of the sculpture, given that transparency has been one of the traits that has defined the model in modern sculpture.
The history of transparent sculpture starts with Cubism and from then this medium has tried to embrace the air with a network of lines and planes. Such is the case for Julio González, as well as other expressions arising within Futurism and especially in Constructivism. It will be the constructivists who -based on the cubist dissection of the object and on the futuristic utopia of X-ray eyes- will shape the idea of transparency in sculpture, freeing it from opacity and gravity. For them, transparency was a metaphor for overall intelligibility, of the stranglehold of matter and space, reachable thanks to science and modern technology.
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