ISABEL MUÑOZ AND HER APPROACH TO HUMANITY

If there is something that makes the work of Isabel Muñoz stands out is the delicacy, affection and love she puts in her photography, where the human body is represented in its greatest sublimation, without distinction of origins, customs, colours or ages.

Approaching her work is like a trip around the world, like a journey in which one is detached from his prejudices, his preconceived ideas, unfounded fears, and faces the individual as a whole, the resounding concept of the humanity, face to face, without taboos and barriers.

In her work underlies a discourse that reflects on the responsibility of the individual in his relationship with the planet and with his peers. A detached and naked visual story that avoids artifices and invites us to understand life from the greatness and simplicity of humanity. Now, Tabacalera Espacio de Promoción de Arte hosts the exhibition "La antropología de los sentimientos" where you can see 97 works by this incombustible photographer. It is a collection that perfectly reflects this philanthropic spirit of Isabel and her desire to establish bonds that surpass any stereotype based on the physical aspect or a particular aesthetic.

'Agua', 2016

Isabel Muñoz received the 2016 National Photography Award in recognition of her professional career, which began in 1986 with her first exhibition at the French Institute of Madrid and which marked her beginnings unequivocally. The current showing, curated by Audrey Hoareau and François Cheval, co-founders of The Red Eye, gathers part of the pieces of her last six work series, focused on the representation of the human body (or human bodies, in the plural).

Series 'Mitologías' and 'Locura'

The Tabacalera space seems ideal for this exhibition. The nooks and crannies, the hidden rooms, the doors that lead to secluded corners offer a perfect environment for confidentiality, so that each spectator can approach, in the privacy of his or her thoughts, the clear truth of these images, the encounter with diversity.

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.