Juan Muñoz - Contemporary Art London Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Magda Pas, Madrid

  • Catalogue Essay

    The elemental properties of Munoz’s work—their muted colors and gritty textures—also closely relate to characteristics of much modern Spanish art. Certain of his pieces seem to correspond to the experiments of the El Paso group, a collective of vanguard Spanish artists active in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s that included Manuel Millares, Antonio Saura, Luis Fieto, Martin Chirino and Raphael Canogar. Several of these artists co-founded an art community and an important museum of abstract art in Cuenca, a Castilian town noted for its casas colgadas or hanging houses, which feature elaborate balconies overlooking a steep ravine. In his work, Munoz shares with these artists a sense of urgency and a kind of visceral approach that conveys a feeling of existential angst.
    Munoz’s bronze and resin figures are never individualistic; instead, they are schematic and impersonal, like those in certain Giacometti groupings. Right from the start, Munoz said that his figures were conceptual and not based on reality. He chose facial and body types removed from his own realm of experience to avoid any hint of autobiographical reference. A large number of pieces, for instance, have Asian features; their physiognomies were based on a Belgian Art Nouveau bust that he found in a flea market. Munoz often referred to his figures as Chinese statues. For him, the term ‘statue’ connotes an inherent theatricality, while a ‘sculpture’ implies a more personal and individualistic expression.
    D. Ebony, Fact and fable: Juan Munoz: employing conceptualist strategies and the illusionistic devices of theater, the late Spanish artist Juan Munoz left behind an extraordinarily rich and varied oeuvre. His idiosyncratic sculptures, drawings and installations are currently on view in a major touring retrospective, his first in the U.S, Art in America, October, 2002



Cast bronze with two brass bells on cast-iron plate over wooden pedestal.
Statue: 20 x 22 1/2 x 17 in. (50.8 x 57.2 x 43.2 cm); Pedestal: 42 1/2 x 23 3/8 x 23 3/8 in. (108 x 59.5 x 59.5 cm).

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £132,000

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm