"Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories. More than that: the chance, the fate, that suffuse the past before my eyes are conspicuously present in the accustomed confusion of these books. For what else is this collection but a disorder to which habit has accommodated itself to such an extent that it can appear as order?" --Walter Benjamin
Sicardi Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of El coleccionista (The collector), the first U.S. presentation of Oscar Muñoz's 2016 video installation of the same title. The exhibition opens with a reception with the artist from 6-8 pm, Thursday, May 12. This is Sicardi Gallery's fourth solo exhibition of work by Oscar Muñoz. The exhibition is accompanied by an essay by Gina McDaniel Tarver.
Since the 1970s, Muñoz has been working with the philosophical and political implications of materially-rich images. Taking photography as his base structure, he has mined the medium's many implications for memory, history, subjectivity, and knowledge. Simultaneously, Muñoz has brought photographic practices in conversation with ephemeral materials, bridging installation, film, video, and drawing.
The richness of Muñoz's mix of material and conceptual interests is based in an extended study of philosophy. For El coleccionista, Muñoz illustrates a character who appears to be an editor, curator, and preparator of images. A ghostly figure, the collector selects and arranges an apparently unending archive of photographs. These range from portraits of individuals from his personal life to historical figures, local characters, and images from mythology and art history. The creation of a mnemonic--a memory device--reflects the unique ways in which we develop our own subjectivities, through the collecting and arrangement of stories, images, memories, individuals, texts, and images. Tarver writes, "This collector displays his chaos of memories, of encounters with other faces (physical and represented) that have shaped and continue to shape his identity. Identity is a collection of memories, a disorder accommodated to appear as order. But the order is fluctuating, tenuous, fleeting. The display is a phenomenological description that itself can only suggest the experiences that generate identity."
Born in Popayán, Colombia, Oscar Muñoz studied art at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Cali. In 2006, Muñoz founded lugar a dudas (space for doubts), a cultural center and residency program for artists. His work has been shown in numerous international solo and group exhibitions, including exhibitions at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey (MARCO), Mexico; Jeu de Paume, Paris, France; Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia; Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), Lima, Peru; Museo de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Museo de Arte del Banco de la República - Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia; and High Line Art, New York, NY, USA.
His works are in numerous private and public collections, including the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, USA; Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia; Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zürich, Switzerland; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., USA; Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA, USA; Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Colombia; Museo del Barrio, New York, NY, USA; Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Los Angeles, CA, USA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Houston, TX, USA; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY, USA; Orange County Museum, Orange County, CA, USA; Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), San Francisco, CA, USA; Tate Modern, London, UK; and Teor/etica, San José, Costa Rica; among many others.