Juan Muñoz Staring at the Sea I 1997–2000

Juan Muñoz
Staring at the Sea I 1997–2000
Private collection © The estate of Juan Muñoz
Photo: Dexter Hodges

Shadow and Mouth 1996 is imbued with a slightly sinister atmosphere, reminiscent of a film noir scenario. Although we can tell nothing about these two figures, their relative positions (and the presence of a table) suggests a relationship based on power, whether doctor and patient, or interrogator and prisoner. The mouth of one of the figures is moving, as if he is whispering his secrets to the wall.

Staring at the Sea I 1997–2000 carries a similar sense of unease. Two masked figures are posed in front of a mirror, one pressed against the other as if compelling him to gaze at his own reflection. The masks lend the scene a threatening quality, and ironically undermine any association between mirrors and self-knowledge. ‘My characters sometimes behave as a mirror that cannot reflect’, Muñoz once said. ‘They are there to tell you something about your looking, they cannot, because they don’t let you see yourself.’