Juan Muñoz Conversation Piece, 1996

Juan Muñoz
Conversation Piece 1996
Private collection © The estate of Juan Muñoz


Juan Muñoz came to international prominence in the mid 1980s with sculptural installations that place the figure in architectural environments. He described himself as a storyteller, and often arranged his figures and objects in carefully staged configurations that hint at unsettling and ambiguous scenarios. The way that the viewer encounters a work of art was important to Muñoz. He was fascinated by the tension between the illusory and the real, using tricks of scale and perspective to choreograph the viewer’s experience.

Muñoz was born in Madrid in 1953. He studied in London and New York, and worked as a curator in Spain before he began to exhibit his own work. Although principally a sculptor, he was also an accomplished draughtsman and writer, and collaborated on performance pieces, some of which can be heard and viewed in the café outside the exhibition. His last major installation was Double Bind, the second Unilever commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, which opened shortly before his tragically early death in 2001 at the age of 48.

This exhibition is the first major retrospective of Muñoz’s work in the UK. An accompanying three-room display, Juan Muñoz Conversation Piece, can be seen downstairs on Level 3.

Juan Muñoz A Retrospective is curated by Sheena Wagstaff, Chief Curator, with Kerryn Greenberg, Assistant Curator