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In this text, international art critic Mari Carmen Ramírez points to Colombian artist Óscar Muñoz’s longstanding interest in drawing and its limits. She first remarks on the relative realism of Muñoz’s work insofar as it consists of copies or representations of reality; she then asserts his interest in “conceptual, visual, and psychological elements we associate with the real.” Ramírez’s analysis revolves around examples from the Dibujos Morbosos [Morbid Drawings] series and from the work Narcisos [Narcissus]. Regarding the former, Ramírez places emphasis on the use of light and shadow as the basis for exploration of reality and illusion, concepts as central to the work as violence and maginalization. Regarding Narcisos, Ramírez asserts that these works are “the culmination of Muñoz’s investigations of the technical and conceptual limits of drawing and its capacity to render ‘the real.’” Ramírez describes the process implicit to the work, which she associates with the lifecycle: both the human being and a privileged medium of representation (charcoal drawing) are dematerialized and die. Ramírez emphasizes that Narcisos formulates drawing “as process,” thus questioning paper as support and artist as author. She also points out that the distinction between drawing and photography is collapsed in these works by Muñoz insofar as the image as process recreates itself.
This text by Mari Carmen Ramírez appears in the catalogue published on the occasion of the show Re-Aligning Vision: Alternative Currents in South American Drawing which opened in Austin, Texas in 1997, and then traveled to New York. That exhibition marked one of the first occasions when a connection was formulated between the work of Colombian artist Óscar Muñoz (born 1951) and that of other artists from the region. The text emphasizes the continuity between Muñoz’s early work and his production from the mid-nineties in terms of a persistent questioning of art (specifically of drawing) as a medium of representation.
Ramírez views Muñoz’s works as alternative ways of conceiving drawing and of exploring its limits as potential representation of reality. From this perspective, Muñoz’s work entails profound shifts in the conception of various notions, among them: drawing, which Muñoz sees as a process, one to which the artist is secondary, and also the role played by the support and by traditional media (paper and charcoal), and even by photography as fixed and permanent image. In this sense, Ramírez fleshes out and furthers a discussion formulated in Mónica Amor’s “Óscar Muñoz at the LedisFlam Gallery, New York.” Art Nexus no. 14 (October-December 1994). [See doc. no. 854946.]