OSCAR MUÑOZ
Videoworks 2005-2008

- ”Proyecto para un memorial”

​- ”Linea del destino”

- "Hombre de arena”

15.01. - 21.02.2010

The exhibition consists of three video works from recent years. In these works he isolates situations that move on the border of the insignificant, such as in the "Línea del destino" (Line of destiny), where the artist's own reflection appears in a handful of water, before the mirror image slowly runs out between his fingers. "Hombre de arena" (Sand man) has a similarly ascetic form, where a figure is drawn in the sand before being washed away by the waves that strike.

In "Proyecto para un memorial" we see - on 5 screens in turn - a hand that restlessly paints face with water on a stone slope. But the faces don't last long. The sun is roasting on the stone slope, the water is evaporating - and the hand has to paint the face again. Muñoz writes that not only does the restless hand and brush remind of the myth of Sisyphus and the absurd - but it also confirms the frustration we experience when we cannot hold onto the image long enough until it  transforms into a memory. The myth of Sisyphus is the story of man's endless work, but which nevertheless remains useless. We die. Our works disappear.

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus is the king who is doomed to push a heavy rock up a mountain. Finally upstairs, the worn-out Sisyphus must see the stone immediately roll back down. But as punishment it has no function unless the convicted person is conscious of the extent of the punishment - there can be no hope that this will end. For Albert Camus, the Franco-Algerian writer, it is in the interstate, in the pause before Sisyphus again prepares to hoist the stone to the top, that he becomes interesting. In the essay Myth of Sisyphus, Camus considers the meaningless wear and tear of Sisyphus. And he asks how he can accept these terms? In the text, Camus transforms the tragic and meaningless wear and tear into a creative act - where the world, like the work of art, is created again and again. The work of art, he writes, is the absurd joy of someone else, referring to Nietzsche who says that we have the art to not die from the truth. The truth, according to Camus, is that the world is absurd, it is fundamentally foreign to us, the world we live in consists of scenery and illusion. To create is to live twice - but it is also to endure the meaningless twice. Sisyphus endures the senseless - not two but an infinite number of times. And in the certainty of his destiny, Sisyphus becomes a hero. He overcomes the senseless by completing the absurd. The endless work of hand brushing, which repaint the face again and again, is not meaningless even if every face disappears, time and time again. And - as Albert Camus writes: One must believe that Sisyphus is happy because he knows he is the master of his days - and he is constantly on the move.

Oscar Muñoz (b. 1951, Colombia) is one of the leading artists on Columbia´s dynamic art scene. He uses video, drawing and photography to explore themes of memory and human loss. The focal point in his work is the image as impermanent, using the fleeting quality of the techniques itself as a mediator, creating metaphors for the human condition. His work subtly alludes to the impact of the political and social turmoil in Colombia – as Muñoz reinforces: My work today arises from my interest in understanding how a society comes to accept war - or rather, a dark and corrupted succession of wars over more than 50 years and which have not yet ended - as part of the routine of living. Still – the subjects are non-spectacular, as in “In Proyecto para un memorial”.

How can one construe a notion of time in this immemorial setting? How can one assimilate and articulate in one’s memory all these events that have been happening for so many years now?

In 2006, Muñoz founded lugar a dudas, a cultural center and residency program for artists. Located in Cali, lugar a dudas (space for doubts) has become a center for young artists to work through ideas and participate in a dialogue and public debate about art and politics.

 

Oscar Muñoz’s works are represented in several major collections including Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, USA; Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zürich, Switzerland; Fundación “la Caixa”, Barcelona, Spain; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, USA; Tate Modern, London, UK; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX, USA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), San Francisco, CA, USA.

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