SANTANDER.- The Marcelino Botin Foundation in Santander organized an exhibition of Antoni Muntadas (Barcelona, 1942). The exhibition, which opens in Santander (Spain) on November 14th, will consist of fifteen works from the circuit of ideas that has occupied Muntadas since the mid-1990s. Many of the works in Spaces, Sites, and Situations evoke the everyday public places--interchangeable, unidentifiable, seemingly designed by the same global firms--that provide the settings for much of contemporary life.
Since the early 1970s, Antoni Muntadas has patiently elaborated a remarkable body of work whose scope and complexity are only now becoming fully apparent, the curator explains in his essay for the catalogue. Although he has long identified himself as a "media artist," this term hardly begins to suggest the extent of his activity, which encompasses video, photography, installations, artist's books, Internet projects, and public art. More than perhaps any other artist, Muntadas has taken seriously the 1970s insistence on creating an "expanded field" for art--a space for constantly testing new ways in which art can be produced, circulated, and understood. His works have ranged from explorations of the phenomenology of the human senses (in his video performances of the early 1970s involving "sensorial micro-environments); to investigations of the global structure of the broadcast media (in the video work Cross-Cultural Television of 1987); to examinations of the way that media stereotypes can poison the social atmosphere (in his 2007 exhibition The Construction of Fear and the Loss of Public Space).
A new body of photo works and a new video installation, shown for the first time in this exhibition, extend Muntadas's exploration of the standardized spaces of everyday life. Situations (2008) features works composed of two or more similar photographs mounted together so as to suggest a cluster of moments in time.
Also, Muntadas conceived the new video installation LLOC (2008) specifically for the ground-floor exhibition space of the Marcelino Botín Foundation. "Lloc" is the Catalan word for "place," and the video footage was shot inside an unidentified mall-like space visited by tourists and other consumers during their off hours. From an elevated camera position that looks down on an interior plaza, Muntadas shot two video segments that were meant to be projected onto the floor of the exhibition space.
Other number of the works in this exhibition grew out of the project On translation, as The Bookstore (2001) consists of a group of photographs shot in large, mass-market bookstores in New York an London. On Translation: Standby I (2005) and On Translation: Standby II (2006), Muntadas shows groups of ordinary people around the world engaged in one of the most common yet least remarked routines of modern life: standing in line.