Museo Municipal de Guayaquil,|
May 10, 2006 - Jun 15, 2006
Oscar Muçoz: Dissolvency and phantasmagorias
by Lupe Alvarez
Every subject is in the space of representation as a rhetorical (phantasmatic) effect of the materializing power itself, of the visionary, envisioning act. The presence of the agent of the vision in his own outcome (since he himself is the outcome of the vision) always has that instituting phantasmagorical effect.
José Luis Brea, El tercer umbral. Estatuto de las prácticas artísticas en la era del capitalismo industrial [The third threshold. Statute of artistic practices in the era of industrial capitalism].
Oscar Muñoz places us in a world where definition loses credit, a consummate form relates to what is chimerical and its legibility stems from the fuzzy, the ephemeral or from whatever takes on meaning in its intrinsic duration. The appreciable resources are paradoxical in those works of his that oscillate between the material and the immaterial, the seeing and the visible, or in those that evoke the disquieting circumstance in which the observer and the observed constitute one another, involve one another mutually and could not exist as something apart, nor propose a radical difference.
His poetics foretell the shifting space where nothing seems to have a substantial reality, where envisioning can be a gesture that is consumed as it is presented, and the image is but a mere rhetorical effect, a phantasmagoria.
On viewing some of his works we have experienced, not without a certain restlessness, the evidence of a softened substance of light meanings that contrast with the anxiety of "Being", of plenitude and realization that has flown over our consciences, anchored in modern paradigms. The strict temporality in which such works survive are marked by a precarious destiny. They give us a glimpse at those tremors for which we are never prepared.
These are signs that anticipate some of the most disquieting, "hard" reflections that took shape towards the end of the century: those that investigate cultural practices in general (such as Cultural and Visual Studies) as industries of subjectivity. These cultural perspectives, in turn, produce subjectivity, rather than the other way around. The emphasis on the identity- producing aspect of cultural practices reverts the notion of expression by canceling their objectivization from a pre-existing self, from an achieved subject that materializes and reflects itself.
It is evident that the emerging awareness of these perspectives is "lived" - within theoretical margins -- with great unease. An anxious experience of missing something takes over as former certainties dissolve. The fixed forms of reaffirmation and recognition, anchored in territories with well-defined borders (nation, ethnic origin, an individual with its own life, body, sex) have lost their hold, and their substitutes - hand in hand with the industries of culture - are purely superficial in a horizon in which the particular is not even projected.
In this regard Muñoz’s work has a penetrating effect. His images-process let us peep into the abyss of imagining an individual who, in conflict, is no longer recognizable through given, predefined norms; that individual before which the specific ways of being "I" have become denaturalized. What is announced in his poetics is the loss of that uniqueness that marked the "I" reaffirmed in its individuality, the other "I" achieved in each of life’s passages, rooted in the condensed articulation of its own attributes.
The axis around which "Disolvencia y fantasmagorías" [Dissolvency and phantasmagorias] revolves delves into those topics and into the special manner in which they take shape aesthetically.