Juan Muñoz: Double Bind & Around, HangarBicocca, Milan

Over 100 sculptures in 15 works from this “storyteller” and leading figure in contemporary art, including his most monumental piece, Double Bind, are on display at HangarBicocca in the first solo exhibition in Italy dedicated to Juan Muñoz. The show covers the entire 5,300 square meters of the nave and aisles of the gallery and comprises well-known works such as The Wasteland (1986), Ventriloquist Looking at a Double Interior (1988-2000), Conversation Piece, Dublin (1994), The Nature of Visual Illusion (1994-1997) and Many Times (1999), as well as Double Bind which was made for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall shortly before the artist’s death in 2001.

Double Bind was designed for and shown in the Turbine Hall as part of the Unilever Series at Tate Modern and it has never been reconstructed since, however the work has now been adapted to fit the smaller, industrial space of HangarBicocca. Formed of a series of dark scenarios, incorporating architectural elements which play with perception, the work stands across three floors with two constantly moving elevators. The top floor gives views of geometric forms, punctured with holes and shafts, while the middle level sees human figures appear static, alone and in groups, structural elements such as barred windows and gratings control the viewers’ sight-lines and experience.

In this same way, Muñoz positioned the human figure at the centre of all of his work – his mysterious worlds inhabited by strange characters such as acrobats, ventriloquists, ballerinas and solitary dwarfs, and playing with ideas of reality and fiction. Initially through Roman sculpture and Baroque architecture, the artist studied the relationship between the body and the exhibition space, using distorted perspectives and strange scales to challenge the viewer’s perception of varying artworks. This interest in illusion furthered into pieces spanning sculpture, architecture, drawing, installation, sound and text.

Juan Muñoz, Double Bind & Around, until 23 August, HangarBicocca, Via Chiese 2, Milan.

More information can be found at www.hangarbicocca.org.

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1. Installation view. Juan Muñoz, Double Bind & Around. Photograph copyright of Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy of The Estate of Juan Muñoz, Madrid.