Juan Muñoz (b. 1953) will be familiar to many visitors to Louisiana thanks to his two major works Semicircle and Neil's last words, both from 1997, which form part of the Louisiana collection. In the spring it will be possible to see these sculptures in a larger context, since Louisiana, in collaboration with the artist, will be selecting and combining a number of the artist's works in an exhibition.
In the years after the fall of Franco (in 1969) a new Spanish cultural scene of enormous power arose. Now, thirty years later, the most significant artists of the period have emerged, and Juan Muñoz, through his highly personal reinterpretation of figurative sculpture, has manifested himself not only as a leading Spanish artist, but also as a striking artist at the international level.
Juan Muñoz has won great recognition for his sculptures since the mid-8Os, but he also works with installations, painting and sound. All his works carry a narrative or a profound secret, often coloured by melancholy. The early works could take the form of architectural elements like balconies, staircases and miniature stairways in the traditional Spanish building style, while his later works are dominated by figures. The starting-point for the later sculptures is those who are marginalised and rejected by society, frequently with some kind of handicap. Other motifs have been the dwarf, the ballerina, the jester and the ventriloquist's dummy, figures that can be traced back to the Spanish storytelling traditions and cultural heritage.