Born in Popayán, Colombia, Oscar Muñoz studied art at the Instituto Departamental de Bellas Artes in Cali in the 1970s. As an art student, he began making drawings based on photographic images and, although his studies did not specifically include photography or audiovisual media, these media and their relationships to reality and meaning-making subsequently became central to his artistic practice.
Muñoz is also known for his use of ephemeral materials in poetic reflections upon memory and mortality. For example, Aliento(1995-2002) consists of a series of seemingly blank mirrors. However, when the viewer comes close to them and breathes on them, subtle obituary portraits emerge momentarily on the surface. Muñoz’s video Re/trato (2004) shows the artist painting a self-portrait with water. As the water makes contact with the hot pavement Muñoz is painting on, the portrait vanishes. Muñoz often bridges the media of film, video, photography, installation, and sculpture.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Colombia was wracked by a war between feuding drug cartels and the Colombian government. Muñoz’s installation Ambulatorio consists of a large aerial photograph of that city printed on a sheet of shattered security glass. Viewers walk on top of the glass floor, looking down upon the city. The work was inspired by a bombing; walking through Cali after the bomb exploded, Muñoz was fascinated by the prevalence of fragments of glass, encrusted into the pavement.
In 2006, Muñoz founded "lugar a dudas," a cultural center and residency program for artists. Located in Cali, lugar a dudas (space for doubts) has become a center for young artists to work through ideas and participate in a dialogue and public debate about art and politics.
Muñoz has shown his works in numerous important solo exhibitions, including Oscar Muñoz: Protografías, Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia (2014); Oscar Muñoz: Eclipse, Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2013); Oscar Muñoz: Biografías, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco (FUNDAJ), Recife, Brazil and University of New Mexico Art Museum (UNMAM), Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA (2014); Oscar Muñoz: Ambulatorio Belfast, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK (2012); Oscar Muñoz, Hasselblad Award, Göteborgs konstmuseum, Gothenburg, Sweden (2018); Oscar Muñoz: Re/trato, High Line Art, New York City, New York, USA (2013);
Oscar Muñoz: Protographies, Jeu de Paume, Paris, France (2014); Oscar Muñoz, Narcisos, Aliento, Ministerio de Educacion y Cultura (Centro MEC), Montevideo, Uruguay (2002); Protografías, Museo de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia and Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina (2012); Oscar Muñoz, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey (MARCO), Mexico (2014); Oscar Muñoz: Protografías, Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), Peru andMuseo La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia (2013); Oscar Muñoz, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá (MAMBO), Colombia (1995); Cronicas de la ausencia, Oscar Muñoz y Rosângelo Renno, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico (2009); Oscar Muñoz: Invisibilia, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona, USA (2021) and Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas, USA (2022); and Oscar Muñoz: Sedimentaciones, University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum (USFCAM), Tampa, Florida, USA (2014).
Muñoz’s works are represented in several major collections including Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia; Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas, USA; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zurich, Switzerland; Fundacio Sorigué, Lleida, Spain; Fundacion "la Caixa," Barcelona, Spain; Hasselblad Foundation Collection, Gothenburg, Sweden; Higashikawa International Photo Festival Collection, Japan; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, USA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), California, USA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York, USA; Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris, France; Museo de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina; Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (MAMM), Colombia; Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), Massachusetts, USA; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Texas, USA; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, New York, USA; Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Florida, USA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), California, USA; Tate Modern, London, England, UK; and UBS Art Collection, New York City, New York, USA.
Akron Art Museum, OH, USA
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Art Museum of the Americas (AMA), Washington, D.C., USA
Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, USA
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Centro Cultural Cajastur, Caja de Asturias Gijón, Spain
Colección Arco, Madrid, Spain
Colección Cisneros, Caracas, Venezuela
Colección Sofia Imber, Caracas, Venezuela
Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zürich, Switzerland
Denver Art Museum, CO, USA
El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY, USA
Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain du Centre, Amiens, France
Fundación El Monte, Caja de Sevilla, Spain
Fundación JUMEX Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico
Fundación “La Caixa”, Barcelona, Spain
Fundación Sorigué, Lleida, Spain
Hasselblad Foundation Collection, Gothenburg, Sweden
Higashikawa Photo Festival Collection, Higashikawa town, Hokkaido, Japan
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., USA
Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA), CA, USA
Museo de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, León, Spain
Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina
Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Colombia
Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Colombia
Museo de Arte Moderno de Pereira, Colombia
Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia
Museo de Arte Universidad Nacional, Bogotá, Colombia
Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (MEIAC), Extremadura, Spain
Museo Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia
Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Los Angeles, CA, USA
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX, USA
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY, USA
Orange County Museum, CA, USA
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), FL, USA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, USA
Quai Branly Museum, Paris, France
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), CA, USA
Tate Modern, London, UK
Teor/etica, San José, Costa Rica
The Carl and Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA
The University of Colorado Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder, CO, USA
UBS Art Collection, New York, NY, USA
Curated by Natalia Brizuela, Ph.D. and Jodi Roberts, Ph.D.
Sicardi | Ayers | Bacino is honored to have worked with Oscar Muñoz for the past sixteen years. His work continues to amaze and humble us. We look forward to future projects.