Oscar Muňoz, "Aliento (Breath)", 1999, Photo-Serigraphs with grease on steel discs, $14,000 (set of twelve only) Oscar Muñoz work courtesy Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX.

Oscar Muňoz, “Aliento (Breath)”, 1999, Photo-Serigraphs with grease on steel discs, $14,000 (set of twelve only) Oscar Muñoz work courtesy Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX.

Oscar Muňoz

Columbian artist, Oscar Muñoz, has an unusual talent for turning technique into poetry. The series featured here, Aliento (Breath), consists of polished steel mirrors in whose surface an image has been drawn with a greasy medium. However, the image is not visible to the viewer unless he/she fogs the mirror with his/her own breath. Otherwise, one sees only oneself as in a regular mirror.

Aliento pays homage to the Argentinean “disappeared”. Muñoz silk-screens the surface of the disks with obituary sized snapshots of the victims of the military junta’s terror. The images remain invisible until a viewer breathes on them, at which point the faces briefly come into view before quickly fading away. Fleeting, like memory, this work literally illustrates that only in the present does the past exist. Unless we remember, unless we breathe life into – the past remains unreachable. This work is about political violence, what we choose to see, and the importance of remembering. Images of ghosts, this work guards that which is lost and that which we cannot and should not forget. 

Oscar Muňoz lives in Columbia and shows his work in the US at the Sicardi Gallery in Houston, Texas. His work has been shown in South America, North America, Europe, and Asia. His exhibition venues include Throckmorton Fine Art in NYC, Museum of Modern Art in Columbia, the Museum of the Americas in Washington DC, Blue Star Art Space in San Antonio, the Contemporary Art Museum of South Florida, the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas in Venezuela, the Museo del Barrio in NYC, and here at the Center for Photography at Woodstock.