Oscar Muñoz: Invisibilia
Text + Images Courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum

Above: Oscar Muñoz, El Coleccionista (The Collector), 2014-2016 [still]. Synchronized HD Projections with sound (Proyecciones HD sincronizadas con sonido). Collection of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation. Image courtesy of the artist. 

Oscar Muñoz: Invisibilia is the first mid-career survey of Colombian artist Oscar Muñoz’s work in the United States. Although he has had large-scale retrospectives throughout Europe and Latin America, this exhibition introduces U.S. audiences to a broad scope of his evolving practice. 

Beginning with his early, stark charcoal drawings from the late 1970s and early 1980s, whose approach to light and shade continued to impact Muñoz’s aesthetic in later photographic and video works, the exhibition will also include approximately 50 exemplary works from his most evocative series created during the late 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s to the present day, including site-specific work, to trace the evolution of his practice. 

Above left: Oscar Muñoz, Línea del destino (Line of Destiny), 2006 [still]. Single-channel video without sound (Video monocanal, sin sonido), 2 min. Denver Art Museum: Gift of Polly and Mark Addison, 2011.298.1-2. Image courtesy of the artist. RightOscar Muñoz, Paístiempo (Countrytime), 2007 [detail]. Pyroengraving on newspaper (Pirograbado sobre papel periódico). Collection of the artist. Image courtesy of the artist. 

Now on view through Sunday, January 18, Invisibilia is accompanied by the first comprehensive bilingual catalogue that explores the artist’s work, with contributions by leading scholars in the field.

Since the early 1990s, Muñoz has consistently explored the elusive phenomena of memory and time by lending them visible form, but often only fleetingly—just as we, too, are prone to forgetting. In doing so, he has reinvented the medium of photography, creating hybrid works that splice photographic processes with drawing, printmaking, installation, video, and sculpture, as well as interactive works. 

Above: Oscar Muñoz, Cortinas de baño (Shower Curtains), 1985-86. Acrylic on plastic (Acrílico sobre plástico). Collection of the artist. Installation view, Oscar Muñoz, Protografías, Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia, 2011. Image courtesy of the artist. 

This is why, despite being awarded the 2018 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, Muñoz is not truly a photographer.

Rather than respecting chronology, the exhibition’s structure presents a practice in flux, an artist continuously experimenting with new artistic means as he seeks to define and refine his philosophies by deconstructing the photographic medium. Through Invisibilia, students and visitors of all ages will enjoy active opportunities to engage with themes of history, identity, and social amnesia. 

Developed in close collaboration with the artist himself, this exhibition encompasses the poetics, the politics, and the philosophical underpinnings of the unstable imagery Muñoz has created, which, nevertheless, becomes indelible in our imaginations.

Oscar Muñoz: Invisibilia
September 11 – January 18
Phoenix Art Museum