Juan Muñoz The Prompter 1988

Juan Muñoz
The Prompter 1988
Private collection © The estate of Juan Muñoz

In The Prompter 1988, the ambivalent relationship between Muñoz’s work and the theatre is made explicit. The optical floor represents an almost empty stage, with a drum tilted against the far wall and the figure of a dwarf enclosed in the prompter’s box. The image evokes themes of memory and forgetting, speech and silence. Muñoz explained that he had wanted to represent a ‘house of memory, the mind you never see but is always there… like a stage set with no representation, no play, only one man trying to remember, trying not to forget’. One of Muñoz’s inspirations for The Prompter lay in his discovery of the very short stature of an 18th-century architect called François de Cuvillés, one of the principal designers of the Nymphenburg Gardens, the summer residence of the Bavarian monarchy, which Muñoz visited while conceiving the work.