Juan Muñoz Ventriloquist Looking at a Double Interior 1988–2001

Juan Muñoz
Ventriloquist Looking at a Double Interior 1988–2001
Private collection © The estate of Juan Muñoz

Muñoz made around 40 Raincoat Drawings, each depicting a view of an interior with a spare arrangement of furniture. They were made with white chalk on a black raincoat-like fabric. The drawings resemble stage sets, their actors absent, with a dramatic quality that relates them to Muñoz’s sculptures. ‘If the drawings succeed in conveying an emotion, it’s because they might give the sense that something has happened or is going to happen’, he said. ‘Either you’re too early or too late. It’s always the wrong moment.’ He also related their sense of dislocation to his memories of family life. His mother would obsessively change the furniture around between rooms, so he often returned from school to find his home transformed.

The earliest Raincoat Drawings were made as part of Ventriloquist Looking at a Double Interior 1988–2001. A ventriloquist’s dummy contemplates the two enigmatic scenes, one seemingly the reverse view of the other. His mouth moves mechanically, but without the ventriloquist to give him a voice, he remains silent.

One Figure 2000 was one of Muñoz’s last works. The mirror relates to his love of optical tricks and spatial manipulation, but also to themes of consciousness and self-knowledge. A self-portrait, it creates a complex response of looking between ourselves, the figure and its own reflection. The face of the figure is pressed so closely to the mirror that its expression cannot be seen clearly.