Cornerhouse is pleased to present a solo exhibition from leading Colombian artist Oscar Muñoz, featuring video installation Biografías (2002) and single screen projection Linea del Destino (2006).
Muñoz’s work explores universal themes of memory and human loss within the challenging socio-political situation in his native Colombia, and his evocative pieces trace the impact of years of conflict on his fellow Colombians.
Working across a variety of media that include photography, printmaking, drawing, installation and moving image, Muñoz employs a range of unusual image-making techniques and materials to reflect the transient nature of memories. This exhibition features two video works, which both use photography and image-making as instruments of reflection, consciously moving away from pure documentation. Muñoz explores relationships to the past, referring to contemporary Colombia as being in a state of ‘eternal present or past present’ – a state of ongoing conflict without resolution. This turbulent socio-political background permeates his work, and is here characterised by the use of water as a vehicle for images, as he emphasises repetition, fluidity and the sense that things begin but never end.
For video installation Biografías, Muñoz uses a screen-printing process, sprinkling coal dust on water to create fragile portraits that slowly distort and wash away as the water is drained. The source material for these images are unclaimed photographs taken by Colombian street photographers over twenty-five years ago. The resulting anonymous portraits, have a shifting and mutating qualities that encourage viewers to question the permanence of the photographic image.
Linea del Destino features the artist’s own image, reflected in a pool of water held cupped in his hand. As the water gradually leaks away the image grows smaller and disappears with it. The title of the work refers to the line on the palm of the hand that for palm readers shows life’s course, and maps out a predestined fate. The artist’s inability to hold on to his own reflection suggests the frailty of the image, the self and of life itself.
About Oscar Muñoz
Oscar Muñoz was born in Popayan, Colombia in 1951. He has exhibited internationally and his work is held in collections such as Tate Modern, London; Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles; Daros Collection, Zurich; Miami Art Museum, Florida; and Hirshorn Museum, Washington D.C. He lives and works in Cali, Colombia.