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13 Jun 2008

Oscar Muñoz: Mirror Image

Línea del destino (Line of destiny). 2006, Single screen projection. Courtesy the artist.

Oscar Muñoz: Mirror Image


13 June – 27 July 2008
Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 11am-6pm
Late Thursdays: 11am-9pm (Last admission 8.30pm) Saturday: 12noon-6pm
Sunday, Monday: Closed (exception: Sunday 27 July, 12noon – 6pm)

+44(0)20 8854 5460/+44(0)7798 626 555

Rivington Place, London, UK, EC2A 3BA

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Iniva presents Mirror Image, the first solo exhibition in the UK by Oscar Muñoz, a leading artist on Colombia's dynamic art scene.

Themes of memory and human loss permeate Oscar Muñoz's work to compelling and seductive effect and are made apparent through his mode of production. Often using the light-sensitive tendencies of photography and the moving image, his work is imbued with a transcendental quality. Central to Muñoz's work is the impermanence of the image, creating apt metaphors for the human condition, time and memory. Muñoz says: 'My work insists […] in documenting an immemorial scenario: the 'logic of everyday thinking' that stems from the impossibility of retaining and fixing images permanently'.

Born in Popayan and now living in Cali, Colombia, Muñoz's work challenges the viewer to rethink the meaning of the photographic image. Photography forms the basis of much of his moving image work, but he also employs more traditional techniques like drawing, and materials like charcoal to realise his works.

Whilst Muñoz's work subtly alludes to the impact of the war in Colombia – a country immersed in political and social turmoil for over 50 years – his themes have a universal appeal. Muñoz reinforces this: 'My work today arises from my interest in understanding how a society comes to accept war – or rather, a dark and corrupted succession of wars over more than 50 years and which have not yet ended - as part of the routine of living, where both the past and the present are plagued with daily violent events which are persistently repeated.'

The exhibition comprises six of Muñoz's most telling works from the past ten years. In 'Proyecto para un memorial' (Project for a Memorial) (2005), one of the larger pieces in the exhibition (a five-screen projection), Muñoz draws on a hot pavement in Cali, copying photographs from newspaper obituaries. He draws portraits using water and as one nears completion, the earlier images evaporate - and he begins again.

In 'Aliento' (1996-2002), mirrored discs are mounted on a wall. The glossy surface invites the viewer to look deeper. Breathing on the glass reveals faces – from photographs in Colombian newspapers - which disappear as the mist diminishes.

Also featured are recent installation works. These include facsimiles of the front pages of two leading newspapers in Colombia (El Pais and El Tiempo) where the artist has burned images and text onto the surface of the paper. Gradually, over successive pages, the image fades.

Eclipse employs camera obscura to startling effect by reflecting the street life of Shoreditch into the gallery space. What initially appear to be luminous static images is in fact live activity on Rivington Street.

Muñoz's works are represented in significant collections such as Tate Modern, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, Bogota; Museum of Modern Art 'La Tertulia', Cali, Colombia.

Mirror Image is realised with support from Arts Council England.

Public Programme

• Saturday, 14 June, 4-6pm: In Conversation: Oscar Muñoz and Sebastian Lopez,   Director, Iniva.

• Thursday 19 June, 7-9pm: Video work by Colombian artists who have exhibited at Lugar a Dudas, an artist-run space established in Cali by Muñoz.

• Thursday 3 July, 7-8pm: Gallery Talk: Sebastian Lopez

• Saturday 12 July, 2-3pm: Gallery Talk: Melanie Keen

• Thursdays 10, 17, 24 July, 7-9pm: A programme of films selected by Oscar Muñoz that have influenced his artistic practice such as the work of filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky.

All events are free but advance booking is essential: +44 (0)20 7749 1240