PROXYCO

This is a Sensitive World

Carolina Muñoz

This Is a Sensitive World

Opening July 10th, 2024
PROXYCO Gallery, 121 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

Carolina Muñoz presents her first solo show in New York “This Is a Sensitive World,” resulting from her first-place win in the 7th edition of the CCU Art Fellowship. This fellowship invites contemporary Chilean artists to compete for a residency at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) and a solo exhibition at PROXYCO Gallery in New York City. I was invited to participate as a curator for the fellowship and as a mentor for the winning artist. Through conversations and emails, the artist proposed her work’s concept, layout, and the viewer’s journey, essentially shaping her own curatorship. Muñoz, primarily a painter, engages in a unique creative process where she interprets and fragments the world through digital montages. Her scenes often depict the art world itself — museums, galleries, and fairs — providing a blank, neutral backdrop against which her figures, based on people and artworks, take center stage. She abstracts and exaggerates these figures, imbuing them with an expressionistic quality that she describes as “ambiguous, grotesque, and cartoonish.” Central to Muñoz’s exploration is the “white cube,” a concept originating in the 1960s seeking spatial neutrality for artworks. This stark, white environment allows for meticulous observation, echoing experiments by artists like Yves Klein, who transformed galleries with monochromatic installations, challenging perceptions of art’s presence. Muñoz observes this ecosystem by painting not only the background — the white, neutral space — but also the figures within it, which she distorts and reconfigures into novel, often unsettling forms. Her painting style and figurative abstraction draw from predecessors like Roberto Matta and José Balmes, both influential in reshaping modern Chilean art. Muñoz’s work, however, diverges by presenting recognizable yet abstracted forms that evoke a tactile response. Her figures, with limbs multiplying and bodies contorting, provoke questions about integration and disintegration, blurring distinctions between human, art object, and observer. Touch emerges as a primary theme in Muñoz’s exhibition, challenging the traditional hierarchy of sight over touch. Here, hands “see” while eyes “touch,” offering viewers a sensory engagement that transcends visual perception alone. Muñoz prompts us to reconsider our physical and sensory experiences, questioning what it means to perceive and exist in the world, particularly amidst technological and social transformations. Muñoz’s Informalism isn’t a retreat into dreams or utopias like her predecessors but rather a reflection on a new humanity shaped by evolving technologies and social dynamics. Her work invites us to explore the boundaries of perception and invention, offering a fresh perspective on what constitutes reality and the human experience.

— Gonzalo Pedraza