About Francisco Muñoz
Francisco Muñoz combines color and Geometry with abstraction in visually dynamic sculptures, drawings, collages, paintings, textiles, and installations. Each one of his series reflects a range of Pre-Hispanic influences unfolding a dialogue that merges traditional Mexican aesthetics with contemporary materials. Muñoz’ paintings are intricate compositions that blur boundaries between historical and imaginative registers.
Muñoz was born in Tlaxcala, Mexico in 1986. At an early age he encountered art, feeling the urge to pursue this path and enrolling in an art diplomaed at the Autonomous University of Tlaxcala. Years later, he studied at “La Esmeralda” National School of Painting, Sculpture, and Engraving in Mexico City, and then at The National School of Fine Arts in Lyon, France, in a fellowship program.
“Ritual Landscape” derives from the homonymous archeological term. It refers to the diverse manifestations of Mesoamerican cultures ranging from buildings, sacred spaces and public sculptures to landscape and rituals honoring their gods. The show presents an ecosystem of pieces that is divided into two series: “Roseta Paintings” and “Mortars”.
Curatorial text by: Daniel Garza-Usabiaga
In Ritual Landscape Francisco Muñoz revisits a spatial integration concept aiming to formulate a situation of scenographic character in which two sets of pieces intervene. On one side, a series of round pieces relate to chimallis or pre-Hispanic shields. In each one of the paintings, Muñoz has searched for a sign in a limited four color palette and in a series of motifs that, even though it is reminiscent of Mesoamerican art, does not keep archeological considerations. In the logic of the series there is a substitution of elements in which, for example, acrylic takes the place of minerals or graphite of gold. With plastic solutions and Archeology derived titles, he aims to appeal to preconceived notions in the spectator about cultures from the past and their material production. Something similar happens with the mounting of the pieces that could be related to topic images about temple representations or with traditional museography in an exhibit room of archeological objects. This appearance is reinforced with the presentation of the second set: four ceramic pieces that also appeal to the material culture of the past, to shared images, without pursuing a recreation nor a replica. In that same sense, paintings and ceramics maintain certain ambiguity like art objects that simultaneously, refer to instruments - in this case, of a strong warlike character.
The “Roseta Paintings” series consists of nine round paintings. Six of them are made with polished graphite and acrylic on wood discs. The other three are also painted with graphite and acrylic but on linen mounted on wood discs. The series is dominated by his signature color palette constituted by red, black, green and dark gray. Muñoz’ use of materials is a poetic contradiction as he employs modern elements to tackle Pre-Hispanic subject matters more specifically alluding to chimallis (shields in Nahuatl).
The Olmec, Aztec and Mayan cultures understood the snake as one of the most important deities and represented it in various ways. In “Serpiente enroscada” (Coiled Snake) the artist revisits this recurrent theme. Muñoz underscores his preoccupation with Mesoamerican iconography and translates it into his own visual language. Moving toward a new level of abstraction, Muñoz invites viewers to discover pieces that denote anthropomorphic and zoomorphic characters that assign individuality beyond aesthetic exploration such as “Figura antropomorfa con tocado” (Anthropomorphic Figure with Headdress).
The lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 afforded Muñoz more time to devote to his passion and to return to his artistic roots in his home town, Tlaxcala. “Ritual Landscape” will debut “Mortars” a set of four ultra-high temperature ceramics that reflect the artist’s ongoing experimentation with the material.
Closely associated with Mexican history and tradition, the viewers can encounter containers, mortars, instruments and urns. The original, smooth ceramics are constructed from a cylindric center from which they expand with primary forms such as scales, teeth and membranes; key traits from gods such as Coatlicue, Tlaloc, Xipe-Totec and others, taken to a contemporary version, present in the new collective imagery.