The work of Juan Muñoz (Madrid, 1953 – Ibiza, 2001) is a leading example of sculpture’s return to figuration in the 1980s. After more than a decade touring through some of the most vibrant artistic circles in Europe and the United States - far from the closed environment of Franco’s Spain -, Muñoz turned definitively to sculpture in 1983, when he created his first works in cast metal. The centrality of the human figure, present or invoked, and the activation and theatrical manipulation of architectural spaces are features that run through the artist’s distinctive body of work.
This presentation at Palácio da Bolsa features two sculptures created by Juan Muñoz in the 1980s and 1990s that reveal different approaches to the human figure and to the relationship between the spectator and the artwork. Although they do not display the staging complexity and the rigorous modeling of gestures and expressions of Muñoz’s famous bronze sculptures created from 1989 onwards, the flat figures of Bending (1989) serve as models for the artist’s later sculptural work, exploring the tension between action and immobility that marks much of his oeuvre. Formal references to theatre are evident in the articulated figures of Bending, which resemble puppets waiting to be manipulated, as well as in the mise-en-scène created in the work Untitled (1997). The characters’ stories remain undisclosed, presented as enigmas that challenge each viewer to build their own narrative.
This initiative is part of the Touring Exhibitions Programme of the Serralves Collection, which aims to make the Foundation’s collection accessible to different audiences across the country.
Production: Serralves Foundation – Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto