This haunting exhibition by Spanish artist Juan Muñoz is divided into three parts. The main gallery is populated by nearly life-size sculptures called "Blotter Figures," made of cast resin. The figures are covered head to toe in what appears to be a quilted lead-gray cloth (like a type of fencing costume), but they are remarkably expressive.
The installation as a whole has a kind of spooky Gothic flavor. One of the figures holds a motorized black and white sphere that spins around. The figure holds it like a magician, or a performer about to take to the stage. A sense of theatricality permeates this part of the show.
In the back gallery, a quieter, meditative mood is established by two large, irregular staircases made of corten steel, and a huge black and white photo mural. The steel sculptures look like impenetrable Minimalist works, but they harbor a secret, which many gallery-goers would miss if it weren't pointed out to them by a gallery attendant. A small opening in each of the sculptures reveals a sculptured urban scene in miniature, complete with street lamps and pedestrians.
The smaller back room contains tall steel cabinets with glass doors. Shelves inside the cabinets are filled with myriad objects such as wooden knives and small lead figures. Loosely arranged according to categories of people, places and things, this work suggests an exhilarating world of dreams as well as some future reality.
Juan Muñoz, Sept. 21-Oct. 30, 1999, at Marian Goodman Gallery, 24 West 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10019.