Juan Munoz: Seven Rooms - An Outpost of Progress | David Zwirner
Hero image of An outpost of progress as part of Juan Muñoz: Seven Rooms

This suite of thirteen works on paper from 1992 underscores Muñoz’s skill as a draftsman. The drawings depict scenes from Joseph Conrad’s 1896 short story “An Outpost of Progress,” considered the progenitor to the Polish-British novelist’s seminal Heart of Darkness (1899).

An installation of thirteen mixed media drawings by Juan Muñoz, titled An Outpost of Progress, dated 1992.

Juan Muñoz

An Outpost of Progress, 1992
Silkscreen and mixed media on paper
Thirteen (13) drawings
Framed, each: 48 x 34 1/2 x 2 inches (121.9 x 87.6 x 5.1 cm)

“The drawn work developed in tandem with Muñoz’s sculpture. Here and there, of course, there were overlaps, and at times even an exploration of a subject, … but on the whole the drawings seem to be totally autonomous. Yet they in no way veer away from the artist’s areas of concern, but rather present his favourite themes in an intimist way.”

—Guy Tosatto, director of Musée de Grenoble

A detail from the series titled An Outpost of Progress by Juan Muñoz, dated 1992

Juan Muñoz, An Outpost of Progress, 1992 (detail)

Juan Muñoz, An Outpost of Progress, 1992 (detail)

A detail from the series titled An Outpost of Progress by Juan Muñoz, dated 1992

Juan Muñoz, An Outpost of Progress, 1992 (detail)

Juan Muñoz, An Outpost of Progress, 1992 (detail)

Drawing was an autonomous and parallel practice to Muñoz’s three-dimensional works. He produced this series of black-and-white vignettes through a range of techniques, some lightly sketched and others richly rendered, arranged in the form of comic strips that, when viewed together, form an installation in themselves.

The imagery conveys the harshness of life described in Conrad’s novel, which draws from his experience in Congo and is set in Africa in the time it was colonized by Europeans.

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: Seven Rooms, David Zwirner, New York, dated 2022

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: Seven Rooms, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: Seven Rooms, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

“To draw is a pleasure, it is a very beautiful, solitary job. I always draw. I never wanted to draw the pieces I was making because I thought they would be like illustrations. So I always try to make drawings that are separate entities.”

—Juan Muñoz

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: A Retrospective, Tate Modern, London, 2008

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: A Retrospective, Tate Modern, London, 2008

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: A Retrospective, Tate Modern, London, 2008

Juan Muñoz, An Outpost of Progress, 1992, in Juan Muñoz: Uma Retrospectiva, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, dated 2008

Juan Muñoz, An Outpost of Progress, 1992, in Juan Muñoz: Uma Retrospectiva, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, 2008. © Juan Muñoz Estate/VEGAP, Madrid. Courtesy Juan Muñoz Estate and David Zwirner. Photo by Rita Burmester

Juan Muñoz, An Outpost of Progress, 1992, in Juan Muñoz: Uma Retrospectiva, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, 2008. © Juan Muñoz Estate/VEGAP, Madrid. Courtesy Juan Muñoz Estate and David Zwirner. Photo by Rita Burmester

An installation view, Juan Muñoz: Retrospective, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2009

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: Retrospective, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2009

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: Retrospective, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2009

“In the context of European art of the 1980s and 1990s, the Spanish artist Juan Muñoz has, during the short span of his career, produced an outstanding oeuvre as a draftsman. One could even say that drawing is a fundamental part of his work in various media as Muñoz thought in models and projects, and so the improvised manner of drawing as dreaming new possibilities was basic for him.”

—Dieter Schwarz, curator of Juan Muñoz: Drawings 1988–2000, opening June 2022 at Centro Botín, Santander, Spain

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: Seven Rooms, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: Seven Rooms, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: Seven Rooms, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

Installation view, Juan Muñoz: Seven Rooms, David Zwirner, New York, 2022

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