This exhibition on the work of Juan Muñoz (Madrid, 1953 - Ibiza, 2001) is the most comprehensive retrospective to date on the artist, which precedes Juan Muñoz. Monólogos y diálogos dedicated to him by the Museum in 1996.
This exhibition consists of more than one hundred works, some of which are exhibited for the first time and include sculptures, drawings, writings (he developed a particular essay-fiction genre), soundtracks and radio plays. The positioning of the works exceeds the limits of the halls in the Museum so he occupied other spaces like the Sabatini Garden, terrace, corridors or stairs.
Muñoz is considered a reference in the renewal of contemporary sculpture. The sixteen years intervening from 1984, the date of his first solo exhibition, until 2001 when he produced his last piece, allowed him to create a body of work of exceptional narrative, with which he creates a nearly physiological space that involves the spectator and forces them to rebuild it. Its aesthetic design is based on the creation of radical content with traditional forms like its optical floors of Baroque influences that frame and stage the character that pass through in order to make them act.
Muñoz is part of the first generation of artists who reintroduced figuration onto the art scene and who also has an extraordinary ability to weave narratives in theatricality laden atmospheres. In his work there is great tension between unreal and tangible spaces, with references to the world of magic, illusion and mystery. His figures, among which acrobats, dwarves, dancers and oriental characters are found, possess an extraordinary physical presence. Silence, solitude and isolation take on a special role in his artistic creation and in its emblematic series ‘Escenas de conversación’, where different human figures with expressionless faces and spherical basis interact between themselves.
In 2000, after receiving the National Arts Award, Muñoz was the first Spanish artist to exhibit his work in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in London with his work Double Bind, 2001, his latest creation, as well as being considered his masterpiece, with which he explores the idea that "the work is as much the solution and its search". Muñoz dies at the peak of his career at age 48, shortly before the opening of his retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington.
Tate Modern, London (January 24 – April 27, 2008); Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (May 27 – September 28, 2008); Fundação Serralves, Porto (October 31, 2008 – January 18, 2009)