Museo Municipal de Guayaquil,|
May 10, 2006 - Jun 15, 2006
Oscar Muñoz: Dissolvency and phantasmagorias. Part 2
by Lupe Alvarez
Read Oscar Muñoz: Dissolution and phantasmagorias Part 1
The writing in the middle of the meaningful density of each piece is reiterated at length in Lacrimarios [Tear Ushers]. As in some of the adaptations of the Narcissus myth, in this exhaustively presented series it is through photographic silk screening that the piece’s phantasmagoric, subtle effect is achieved.
The piece is made up of small glass containers filled with water, in which charcoal powder, on being deposited through the printed screen, "fixes" the photograph onto the surface. The effect is multiplied through the encounter of reflective planes in which the image, lacking any support, projects an ungraspable phantasmagoria that is accented by the impact of a beam of direct light coming up from the floor.
What we see this time is a repertoire of photos taken from the press: silent monuments to anonymity that offset, through their mere evanescent and fragile presence, all the emblematic content palpitating in the commemorative image and its social denunciation. His work overcomes that current rhetoric in order to highlight the tone of a dramatic reality arising from injustice and violence, converting it into the stage for a false aesthetic ideology.
Lacrimarios penetrates the very horizon of the gaze, since what is seen - which cannot be named and is transitory-- can just as easily take on socially relevant meanings (in fact his pieces always contain interpretations dealing with the cruel reality of Colombia), as it can suggestions regarding the levity of memories or the fleetingness of the meanings of the world. By not placing them in an identifiable context and giving them a sui generis material nature, the images take on an extremely dense, ineffable virtuality.
The title accurately names that enigmatic object with a resounding evocation of arcane rituals, and its powerful reality as an image keeps transmitting a cult-like quality.
There is a slant in this work that sheds light on some of the most relevant aspects of the artist’s general approach. It deals with specific traits of the image-time-duration that are not linked to video technology - as is the case with Narciso and Re-tratos - but rather to a relational impression in which circumstance, material and medium give rise to the appearance, or the "unhiding" of the image in the act. The processes that take place from the moment in which the charcoal impression settles in the water and evaporates naturally, give rise to an arbitrary dynamic that is beyond the author’s control. In this case the image created does not belong fully to anyone. The artist cannot guarantee the identity that arises in the different states of a fickle, alterable material nature.
This quality ratifies the postidentitarian, antiessentialist feature that we have pointed out as one of the latencies that update meanings in Muñoz’s work. In the same way, the transgression of the limits between the different domains of expression, and the vague territories through which they pass, helps to mobilize the old aesthetic orders in which such media took on meaning and value. We could refer to drawing, photography, or etching and at the same time not be referring to them. In fact, we are looking at porous frontiers, in which any modification of the conditions of existence alters the effect of a fixed or corporeal meaning.