Indepth Arts News: |
"Juan Munoz: The Nature of Visual Illusion"
2000-03-18 until 2000-06-18
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
The Louisiana Museum is very pleased to present the distinguished Spanish
artist Juan Munozs first solo-exhibition in Scandinavia. This exhibition is
about that which is different, the foreign, the unfamiliar. From the start, the
tone is set by a massive curtain - a shift of perspective or trompe loeil -
indicating that the play can begin, and that not all is what it appears to be.
Many of Louisianas visitors will already have become acquainted with the
artist through two of his works, both executed in 1997, Half Circle and
Neals Last Words, which form part of Louisianas permanent collection. Half
Circle consists of a group of almost identical, naturalistic figures, placed in an
open circle. Their characteristic facial features and dress invariably bring
Chinese culture to mind. Each face is twisted into a broad smile, producing an
artificial, glued-on, mask-like expression, and it is unclear what this smile really
signifies. In Neals Last Words we see a solitary figure with his back turned to
the observer, absorbed in a whispered monologue - only indistinctly audible -
addressed to his own mirror image. Although the open, welcoming formation
of the group of figures and the smiles seem to encourage some sort of
dialogue, the observer is left uncertain as to what is actually being
Juan Munozs earlier works are deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of Spain.
This exhibition, too, suggests his Spanish background in the sense that his
work is about what is different in relation to himself. It deals with that which is
difficult to embrace and perhaps resists apprehension, with our preconceived
opinions and prejudice in the encounter with all that is foreign.
The staging of Juan Munozs installations is crucial to the experience of his
works which often affect the observer in a physical way. In the large
installation, Many Times, we are confronted with a crowd of one hundred,
slightly modified copies of the same, familiar figure, here placed on a balcony
extending all the way around one of Louisianas large galleries: The
Multi-Purpose Room. Positioning the figures in this spectators gallery and
assigning the actual spectator to the floor, or stage, creates a play in which
actor and spectator have changed places. This changing of roles makes the
question of object and subject unclear; The spectator becomes the alienated
one, the deviant, the one who is set apart from the crowd.
The exhibition catalogue, produced in close collaboration with the artist,
contains photo documentation of the installations by the Italian photographer
Attilio Maranzano. There is also a foreword by Steingrim Laursen and texts
by Adrian Searle and Asa Nacking.
IBERIA has kindly made available flight tickets for the artist’s visits to
Louisiana up to the opening of the exhibition.
Nykredit is main sponsor of Louisiana’s exhibitions 2000.