Antoni Muntadas, Barcelona, 1942.
Considered one of the pioneers of media art and conceptual art in Spain, he has been working for more than four decades on projects in which he poses a critical reflection on key issues in the configuration of contemporary experience.
His objective is to detect and decode the mechanisms of control and power through which the hegemonic gaze is constructed, exploring the decisive role played by the mass media in this process. In his works, which always have a clear processual dimension and in which he often appeals directly to the participation of the spectators, Muntadas resorts to multiple supports, languages and discursive strategies, from interventions in public space to video and photography, from the edition of printed publications to the use of the Internet and new digital tools, from multimedia installations to the implementation of multidisciplinary and collaborative research projects.
Throughout his career, Antoni Muntadas, who conceives his works as "artifacts" (in the anthropological sense of the term, that is, as something that can be activated in different ways depending on the context and the moment in which it is presented), has addressed issues such as the changing relationships between the public and the private, the naturalization of consumerist logic, the processes of cultural homogenization imposed by globalization, the use of architecture as a tool to legitimize political and economic power, the importance of the mass media in the expansion of financial capitalism, the functioning of the artistic ecosystem or the use of fear of the "other" as a strategy of social control.
Work at the collection: “Tasmanian Tiger: case study of the Museum of Extinction”
“Tasmanian Tiger: case study of the Museum of Extinction” (2022).
Faithful to his personal language, alien to any current and label, Muntadas presents a project about an extinct animal, the Tasmanian Tiger, and he does it with an endangered technology, holography, and a totally strange installation in high tech aesthetics, which rather evokes the charm of the old natural science museums. The work raises the debate on obsolescence and the eternal race to create new and sophisticated technologies, which ultimately generate a deepening social gap.
The work recreates a room in a natural history museum, with three showcases and a 1.5 m. hologram, which had to be produced in Lithuania, as it is the only place capable of making it of such dimensions. The showcases contain photographs of the research carried out and some moving images on tablets; another showcase shows DNA studies on how to revive disappeared animals, the Tasmanian tiger being one of the most studied cases; and there is a third showcase with merchandising, which is what keeps the Tasmanian tiger alive in popular culture (T-shirts, beers, coasters, postcards...). These are elements that allow it to remain very present in Tasmania.