Walking around in the Juan Muñoz exhibition is like a journey with strange people whispering, reading, looking or laughing. Silence and at the same time, conversation and loudness, are self-evident and exceed from the spaces.
Although he died quite young, Munoz acquired a particular artistic language. Visitors have to develop a real contact with the strangely displayed pieces to penetrate the artist’s world and make it their own.
Scenography plays an important role in understanding Munoz’s world. The Reina Sofia museum, with its huge space has offered quite a lot of rooms to display a maximum of art pieces. The result is a great confusion where visitors feel a bit lost. If not initiated to the artist work, the visitor may feel discouraged by the amount of rooms to explore, but the Reina Sofia museum has nonetheless amazingly collected and displayed an important number of Munoz’ reflections work.
The most astonishing piece (in my opinion) is probably Many Times. Let’s imagine a room filled with a hundred laughing little men corresponding to Munoz’ style, identical grey figures with no feet. They seem to be all reacting to what the other said. The visitor can walk among them with no understanding of what is happening. He is literally outside their gaze and he is completely isolated from them. Tension and emotion are factors constituting the piece. Are all those sculptural figures mirrors of our life, alone in the reality?
The viewers are questioned about the depersonalisation and his relation to the environment.
An exhibition definitely worth seeing.
(*Images: Juan Muñoz, One Figure (Una Figura), 2000, resina, pigmentos y espejo, 110 x 60 x 50cm, courtesy of the Museo de Grenoble. Juan Muñoz, Many Times, resina y pigmentos, dimensions variable, photo by Stéphanie Bliard.)