Daniel Muñoz

INTERVIEW

How would you describe your contribution to the Truck Art Project?

It has no title. The technique employed is enamel on metal. I might describe it as a landscape on another landscape. Although the work raises various issues, the main one was to reinforce the idea of the artistic object as a mercantile support. It would be rather like defining a character who you know in advance is going to be moving in a constantly changing setting. For the purpose, I used two photographs I took some months ago in Cuba, where advertising hoardings have a very different function than the one they have here. Even so, the important thing is not the context in which the photos were taken but the symbology and harmony of the advertising in the landscape. Trucks are a symbol of capitalism, of merchandise. That interested me, and I worked with this series of concepts that revolve around the object itself and its functions within our reality. I didn’t want to use the truck as a canvas where I would have done a work that could go anywhere, but to reinforce the most basic elements I had at my disposal: truck, landscape, drawing, advertising.

How do the two sides of the truck engage in dialogue?

The two sides are in confrontation. Such an arrangement is very important for this piece, since I’ve drawn the back of two advertising hoardings. The image that ought to be seen on the hoardings has been erased, and at the same time, the same thing happens to the image seen on the truck. There is no image, no apparent message, no subject. In working with the idea of ‘support on support’, what emerges is a double negation of the image. The supports are empty, but that does not mean the same is true of the artwork.

What do you see as the challenges of the project?

As I said, my intention was to call the most basic elements at my disposal into question. What I didn’t want was to ignore a series of materials and symbols that presented themselves. Doing a painting on a truck can’t be approached in the same way as painting on canvas or paper, or at least not in my discourse. For me, it was impossible to get the truck itself out of my head: I couldn’t ignore either its functions or its size or its shape. Putting a piece together with these materials was the really interesting thing.

How does this project fit into your artistic development and discourse?

It could be seen as one of the clearest ways to understand the ‘sculptural’ part of my oeuvre, or that of all the artists who work on walls and all kinds of street furniture. I’ve always had an urge to foment the three-dimensional or ‘explorable’ part of many of the works I’ve done, and I don’t think I’d ever addressed this question so clearly. From now on, I may well investigate it further.

Some artists admit they arrived with a preconceived idea which they then had to modify, or which grew in other directions when they were confronted with a support like this. Was that your case?

No, it really wasn’t. For me, the process of conceiving the piece was more important than executing it. From the moment I began to work on the idea, I knew I had to produce it with clarity and not allow it to become murky. My creative process consists more in clarifying ideas and discarding options than grabbing a paintbrush, although sometimes you have to improvise, and that’s an enjoyable moment.

How have you envisaged the reception of a work like this one, which is found rather than sought out by the spectator, and which doesn’t circulate through the usual artistic channels?

The mode of reception is implicit in the concept of the piece. It isn’t a work that’s formally designed to attract attention through colour or forms close to advertising language. To observe it, you have to pause. It doesn’t try to be fleeting, although it can be assimilated in a single glance. The fact that it doesn’t circulate through the usual art channels is not something new for me.

And the fleetingness of its reception?

That’s another important question for me, but not only in this work. All my work is based on an opposition to fleetingness. I try to make the public receive a stimulus through curiosity, and not to base myself on the aesthetic and conceptual canons behind graffiti and the so-called street art, where the forms are usually simple and engaging, with colours that seduce the eye. My intention is to obviate those aesthetic clichés, which is why I use an austere line with no kind of expressive gesture. It interests me to take these languages to places and supports where they oughtn’t to be.

How did you tackle the scale? Were you used to it?

Bearing in mind the scale I normally work on, it didn’t cause problems of any kind. In fact, it was quite comfortable and manageable. The form of the truck itself was more important.

What do you get out of participating in a project like this, and what do you think you contribute to it?

To me, it contributes a new way of understanding the artistic support as the basis of the work. Working on a wall, a truck or a pavement is very different than working on conventional supports, whether they’re pictures, videos or installations, which are always aimed at a select public that moves in circuits pre-established by the market.

What’s the interesting thing about a project like the Truck Art Project?

In my opinion, it raises several interesting questions. The main one is the gathering of a lot of artists from different disciplines to confront a complex support. At the level of curatorship, I think it’s a different gamble that departs from the classic collective exhibition based on a concept. I think the opposite happens here: the ideas and discourses are very different from one another, and the guiding thread is the object itself. The truly substantial thing is the individual manner of confronting it.

Daniel Muñoz (Moraleja, Cáceres, 1980) began his artistic career in the early 1990s with paintings on the walls of his native village. After a self-taught phase, he enrolled at the Fine Arts Faculty of Madrid’s Complutense University. From then on, his murals started to appear on façades in Spanish and European cities. The basis of his work oscillates between drawing and mural. In his own words, his current intentions are ‘to take this technique to supports that are hostile to it,’ mainly in public spaces, thus questioning our ‘hyper-accessibility to images’. He says, ‘Working in public spaces accessible to anyone makes me constantly question the nature of the images I produce and their functions.’ Throughout his journey, he has executed numerous painting displays and interpositions in various public spaces of Europe, North and South America, Asia and the Middle East. He has also participated actively in a number of exhibition rooms such as the Luis Adelantado Gallery in Valencia, the BACC Museum of Bangkok, CEART – Centro de Arte Tomás y Valiente (Fuenlabrada) or the National Gallery of Amman in Jordan.