Antoni Muntadas has produced a body of work across diverse media, including photography, video, publications, the Internet, multimedia installations and urban interventions. Through his projects, Muntadas addresses social, political and communications issues, the relationship between public and private space within social frameworks, and investigations of channels of information and the ways they may be used to censor information or promulgate ideas.
Deconstructing the systems of representation and information that pervade the contemporary “media landscape,” Muntadas posits a compelling discourse on the “invisible mechanisms” that inform the production and reception of mass media texts. Reading “between the lines” to decode the subjective and objective meanings and interpretations of media language and images, Muntadas analyzes the consumption of information and the process by which it is mediated and manipulated for power, propaganda, and profit.
Strategies of fragmentation, decomposition, isolation, reframing, and disintegration of words and images are integral to his inquiry into how facts and information are mediated or contextualized for the viewer/reader. Deconstructing the form of what he terms the “ecology” of the media — cinema and television credits, advertising slogans, the editing of a news story — he deciphers how its ideological content functions in relation to economic, social and political systems.
Critiquing the incursion of marketing and advertising strategies into politics, art and culture, his works often make reflexive use of mass media formats and contexts, including the World Wide Web, billboards and public sites.
Muntadas was born in 1942 in Barcelona, Spain, and has lived in New York since 1971. He studied architecture at the University of Barcelona and received an M.A. from Escuela Tecnica Superior Ingenieros Industriales (Technical School for Industrial Engineers) in Barcelona, and also studied at the Pratt Graphic Center in New York.
Muntadas has taught and directed seminars at diverse institutions throughout Europe and the United States, including Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris; University of California, San Diego; the Ecoles des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and Grenoble; San Francisco Art Institute; Cooper Union, New York, University of Sâo Paulo, and University of Buenos Aires. He has been a resident artist and consulting advisor at research and education centers including the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY; Banff Center, Alberta, Canada; Arteleku, San Sebastian, Spain; National Studio for Contemporary Arts Le Fresnoy, Lille, France; and University of Western Sydney, Australia. He is currently Visiting Professor at the Visual Arts Program in the School of Architecture at M.I.T. in Cambridge, MA, and the Instituto Universitario de Arquitectura del Veneto in Venice, Italy.
He is the recipient of numerous awards, grants and prizes, including those from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Rockefeller Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts; Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria; Laser d’Or, Locarno, Switzerland, and the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas, awarded by the Catalan Government and the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas 2005. He was awarded the Premio Velázquez de las Artes Plásticas 2009, granted by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.
His work has been exhibited at numerous museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Berkeley Art Museum, California; Musée Contemporain de Montreal; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, and Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona. Other international events in which he has presented work are Documentas VI (1977) and X, Kassel, Germany (1997); Whitney Biennial of American Art (1991), the 1976 Venice Bienniale; and the Sao Paulo, Lyon, Taipei, Gwangju and Havana Biennales. He participated in the 51st edition of the Venice Biennale (2005), where he presented On Translation: I Giardini at the Spanish Pavilion.
Recent solo exhibitions include Protokolle, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart; Muntadas. Proyectos Urbanos (2002/2005)…Hacia Sevilla 2008, Centro de las Artes de Sevilla; Muntadas. Histoires du couteau, Le Creux de l’enfer, Centre d’art contemporain, Thiers, and On Translation: SocialNetworks, Inter-Society of Electronic Arts in San José, California (2006). In 2007 Muntadas/BS. AS. was shown simultaneously at Telefónica Foundation Space, Recoleta Cultural Center and the Spanish Cultural Center in Buenos Aires. In 2008 he presented Petit et Grand at Cervantes Institute, Paris and Muntadas: The Construction of Fear and the Loss of Public Space, José Guerrero Cultural Centre, Granada. In 2009 he made the intervention Project Muntadas, On Translation: Paper BP/MVDR at the Mies van der Rohe Pavillion in Barcelona, and showed La construction de la Peur at Contemporary Art Gallery SBC, Montreal, andMuntadas: Vidéo, média critique, a retrospective presented at the Cinematheque Quebecoise.
In 2010 he presented On Translation: Açik Radyo, Myths and Stereotypes at the Istanbul Modern Museum. In 2011 he exhibited Informação-Espaço-Controle in Estaçao Pinacoteca. Sao Paulo, Brasil; and About Academia at The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. This exhibition will travel to Arizona State University Museum and to the American Academy in Rome, Italy. Currently Muntadas shows in Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Muntadas lives in New York and Barcelona.