Galería Elvira González is pleased to announce the exhibition of work by Juan Muñoz, a key figure in the revitalization of the human figure as a motif in contemporary sculpture. The exhibition, which opens on January 20th, will mark the first show of Muñoz’s work at the gallery.
Juan Muñoz includes a selection of sculptures, paintings and prints, dating from the early 90’s to 2000. Taken together, the work in the exhibition offers a focused and intimate glimpse of Muñoz’s unique vision.
Muñoz’s work bridges the gap between classical
and avant-garde sculpture. In the early 90’s, he
began to introduce narrative into his work, staging scenes, creating spaces and presenting groups of sculptures that theatrically interact with each other. In the process, Muñoz established himself as one of Europe’s most innovative artists.
The sculptures in the exhibition, in resin and polyester, belong to Muñoz’s mature period, and include work that has never been exhibited in Spain previously, such as Two figures, one laughing at one hanging (2000) and Two figures looking to a mirror dated 2001.
Muñoz’s sculpture presents itself to the spectator as a challenge to his or her very existence. It brings together classical tradition with contemporary concepts into imagery that, whether in isolated figures or in groups, invokes solitude, alienation and the lack of communication as inescapable components of the human condition.
Juan Muñoz (Madrid, 1953 – Ibiza, 2001) briefly studied architecture at the Polytechnical Institute of Madrid, later studying painting and print-making in the United Kingdom. In 1982 he traveled to the United States where he studied at Pratt University in New York, and where he came into contact with Richard Serra.
Muñoz’s early influences included Naum Gabo, Pevsner, early Henry Moore, Robert Smithson, Giorgio de Chirico and Richard Serra. With numerous exhibitions in Europe and the US and in cities such as Chicago, New York, London, Madrid, Zurich, Washington and Bilbao, by the mid-80’s Muñoz had established himself as one of Europe’s leading new artists.
Muñoz received Spain’s National Fine Arts Award in 2000, and in 2001 he transformed the colossal Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London (the first Spanish artist invited to do so) with his architectural installation Double Bind. The installation, which was to be Muñoz’s last, is considered one of his most important works, synthesizing all his central concerns: solitude, the articulation of space, reflections on the nature of identity, and difficulties of communication.
In addition to his sculptural work, Muñoz also expressed himself in other media, such as drawing, music, radio and literature, collaborating with figures such as John Berger in a radio piece and with musicians such as Gavin Bryars, Bill Hawkes and Alberto Iglesias. Muñoz’s artistic fertile and wide-ranging artistic output was interrupted by his sudden and untimely death on August 28th, 2001.