The long and successful career of Oscar Muñoz is punctuated with iconic artworks that have visually and conceptually defined his language as a creator. Editor Solitario is without any doubt one of these milestones —although not the only one— and has the particularity of being on its own a reflection on artistic practice itself. In this installation, the artist takes on the role of an archivist, endlessly reorganising a body of images in which the family album coexist with movie stars and the history of art. The constant reference to the playing cards, manifests the idea of chance and the abandonment to the random possibilities of a game. Nevertheless, the Surrealist conviction of an “objective chance”, taking active part in the creative act, should not be overlooked here. It occur to us that Oscar Muñoz resolutely cultivates the strategies that allow that objective chance to happen, and they are even...inherent to his work. At the same time, and almost as a paradox, his practice is grounded in the tireless repetition of a process until the expected result is obtained. It is not so much about coming to terms with and accepting the accident as to pursue a certain control of the fate. If this exhibition reveals something, it is precisely the organic and mutable nature, nourishing in the course of action, of his artistic practice.
Surrounding a paramount piece as Editor Solitario, 2011, appear a series of four small-size installations, referred to as intentos, or “attempts”. The importance of these pieces is fundamental in order to fully understand Muñoz’s work in a way that have not been contemplated before. That idea of the “attempt”, of “trying”, transcend the simple notion of a sketch, of a failed trial or a technical test in the studio; it implies the acknowledgement that the solution to the riddle that is sometimes a work of art, can be multiple, unaware of any hierarchy, and even that the answer might only come over time.
Indeed, time —or to be more precise, the perception of a long term temporality— is installed as well at the conceptual core of these works. The different intentos have been developed in a chronological frame of ten to twenty years, spanning from the initial production, until the moment when technical and conceptional conditions have permitted to give them the material form in which they are presented today. Likewise, time plays a central role in all of them, either in the way the face of Narcissus slowly sinks to the bottom of a water tank —Intento del jueves (Narciso), 2010—, or the progress of photographic fixation/disappearance of the memory —6 Intentos (Biografías), 2001-2002—. But the most emblematic of all might be the never-ending cicle where the author tries once and again to draw a portrait using water over the sun heated concrete —Intentos 1 y 2 (Re/trato y Proyecto para un memorial), 2004—. It is an attempt to an imposible endeavour, bound to fail, yet repeated tirelessly in a gesture of resilience and determination.
We can’t help but think, while installing this exhibition, that it is loaded with symbolic elements that bear witness, more than ever, of ourselves and of current times. Initially scheduled to open in the fall of 2020, it should have marked the 10th anniversary of the gallery, recalling an inaugural solo show devoted to Oscar Muñoz. Forced by the circumstances —another form of chance—, we had to wait for the right time and to reinvent new forms of interaction. To keep untiringly trusting in the opportunity of a new attempt.
Entrada actualizada el el 22 jul de 2021
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