Oscar Muñoz


Popayán, Colombia, 1951


           Oscar Muñoz was born in Popayán, Colombia and spent several years of his childhood in the city of Cali, where he began to observe, from a very young age, how the humidity and heat in the streets turned human figures almost ghostly under the midday sun. The people, the buildings, the city, everything fades slowly in the distance, creating a volatile atmosphere that transitions into a kind of eclipse with the void.

            In his early work, Muñoz drew strong contrasts between the figure and the background. He began to wonder about the moment in which the ink makes contact with the support and may or may not become a document that marks our memory at that moment, a remembrance. With this almost existential reflection, he begins to work with charcoal powder, the material with which he has felt most comfortable throughout his career, because of the infinite expressive possibilities it allows him. But he has also used multiple everyday elements, such as food, condensation on the surface of a mirror, coffee, grease, and the tip of a lit cigarette, among others, with photography always being the key reference of all his pieces. In this way, the artist begins to reflect on Colombia's political history from an everyday life point of view.

            The combination of unprecedented media is Muñoz's decision to abandon traditional formats and techniques. In his work, he combines an interest in society, the use of photography as a memory tool, and the perfect alchemy between light and shadow to understand how an image is defined and what defines it.

            Muñoz frequently uses the term protography: an incipient photography, the preliminary step, the image in potential. Muñoz's work exists in the state that precedes photography, which, in itself, is understood as a static and permanent image. His search is geared towards opposing the immediate from a cultural point of view, everything that is consumed at a precise moment and decomposes.

            Muñoz has a long career, not only in Colombia where he is one of the most recognized artists, but also in the rest of Latin America, the United States, and Europe, where his work is permanently on exhibition and is a part of the most important museum collections.