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"Juan Munoz: The Nature of Visual Illusion"
2000-03-18 until 2000-06-18
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Humlebaek, , DK Denmark

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 communicated.

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.

Exhibition Catalogue
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.


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