Fondazione Hangar Bicocca is proud to present an exhibition on the work of Spanish sculptor Juan Muñoz, one of the leading figures in contemporary sculpture during the last two decades of the twentieth century. The exhibition “Double Bind & Around” retraces this artist’s career through fifteen of his most significant installations.
Among the works shown are The Wasteland, two groups of the series Conversation Piece, six works from Hanging Figure series and the group Many Times, composed of fifty figures. However, the highlight of the exhibition certainly is the reconstruction of Juan Muñoz’s most imposing installation, Double Bind, conceived in 2001 for the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern and never exhibited since.
The work is formed by an architectural structure measuring more than 1500 square metres in surface area and including more than twenty sculptures. The exhibition alters in structure and perception the surroundings space, merging perspective stairways and creating a sense of disorientation in the viewer. This feeling is increased by the absolute silence pervading the exhibition despite the presence of sculptural groups which, by means of their arrangement and gestural nature, are suggestive of conversation and narration.
Juan Muñoz (1953–2001) was one of the leading artists in contemporary sculpture during the last two decades of the twentieth century. His work reintroduced the human figure to the centre of the architectonic space after the long hiatus during which the avant-gardes excluded almost all representation of man from the language of sculpture.
The artist gave sculpture new narrative possibilities by reinterpreting the tradition of Classical and Baroque statuary through the prism of the art movements of the 1960s and 70s – conceptual art, Minimalism and Arte Povera. His works and compositions set the human figure in the middle of an ambiguous relationship between the space of the work and the public, contributing to creating a sense of alienation in the viewer.
Muñoz’s oeuvre has its origin in a personal and encyclopaedic universe of references that encompass literature, poetry, architecture, cinema, philosophy and music. His fascination with illusory characteristics of card games and card tricks was central to the creation of works pervaded by a strong sense of ambivalence, in which the boundary between reality and illusion becomes ever narrower, creating the space for sinister, disquieting images imbued with strong psychological tension.
During the twenty-year period of his artistic activity, Muñoz, who liked to describe himself as a storyteller, chose sculpture as his preferred medium, though he often took an interest in drawing, writing, performance and sound, in some cases creating works conceived to be broadcast on the radio.
Double Bind & Around
9 April / 30 August, 2015
Thursday to Sunday, 11 am – 11 pm
Monday to Wednesday, closed
Via Chiese, 2
Information and images via Fondazione Hangar Bicocca
Photography credits © Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy of The Estate of Juan Muñoz, Madrid.
Cover image via ciaomilano.it