Oscar Muñoz: Mirror Image

Mirror Image. Solo exhibition by one of the most recognized artists of Colombia at Iniva, London.
Jun 2008

Iniva presents Mirror Image, the first solo exhibition in the UK by Oscar Muñoz, one of the leading artists of Colombia's dynamic art scene.

Themes of memory and human loss permeate Oscar Muñoz's work to compelling and seductive effect and are made apparent through his mode of production. Often using the light-sensitive tendencies of photography and the moving image, his work is imbued with a transcendental quality. Central to Muñoz's work is the impermanence of the image, creating apt metaphors for the human condition, time and memory. Muñoz says: "My work insists [...] in documenting an immemorial scenario: the ‘logic of everyday thinking' that stems from the impossibility of retaining and fixing images permanently."

Born in 1951 in Popayán and now living in Cali, Colombia, Oscar Muñoz's work challenges the viewer to rethink the meaning of the photographic image. Photography forms the basis of much of his moving image work, but he also employs more traditional techniques like drawing, and materials like charcoal to realise compelling and seductive works.

Whilst Muñoz's work subtly alludes to the impact of the war in Colombia - a country immersed in political and social turmoil for over 50 years - his themes have a more universal appeal. Muñoz reinforces this: "My work today arises from my interest in understanding how a society comes to accept war - or rather, a dark and corrupted succession of wars over more than 50 years and which have not yet ended - as part of the routine of living, where both the past and the present are plagued with daily violent events which are persistently repeated."

The exhibition comprises six of Muñoz's most telling works from the past ten years. In Proyecto para un memorial (Project for a Memorial, 2005), one of the larger pieces in the exhibition (a five-screen projection), Muñoz draws on a hot pavement in Cali, copying photographs from newspaper obituaries. He draws the portraits using water and as one nears completion, the earlier images evaporate - and he starts all over again.

In Aliento (1996-2002), mirrored discs are mounted on a wall. The glossy surface invites the viewer to look deeper and blow onto it. A soft breath blown onto glass reveals faces - from photographs in Colombian newspapers - which disappear as the mist diminishes.

Also in the exhibition are some of his recent installation works. These include facsimiles of the front pages of the two leading newspapers in Colombia ( El Pais and El Tiempo) where the artist has burned the image and text onto the surface of the paper. As each page is turned, the image gradually fades.

Eclipse is an installation that employs camera obscura to startling effect by reflecting the street life of Shoreditch into the gallery space. As the viewer gets closer to the work, what appear to be luminous static images is in fact activity on Rivington Street where Iniva is located.

Oscar Muñoz's works are represented in significant international collections such as Tate Modern, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles; Miami Art Museum, Florida; Hirshorn Museum, Washington D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Museum of Modern Art, Bogota; Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogota; Museum of Modern Art ‘La Tertulia', Cali, Colombia.

 

(Press release, Iniva - Institute for International Visual Arts)

Oscar Muñoz
Mirror Image

13 June - 27 July 2008

An Iniva exhibition
at Rivington Place
London, EC2A 3BA

Curated by
Sebastián López
with Melanie Keen

Iniva
Rivington Place
United Kingdom
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