Home Magazine Investigating human identity: Gloria Marco Munuera answers our questions

The Kooness editorial team interviewed Gloria Marco Munuera, a Spanish artist whose research is based on the recognition of human identity through the axiomatic value of photography.

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Kooness: Describe what kind of art you focus on

Gloria Marco Munuera: Some years ago, when I renewed my passport, I learned that my fingerprints were eroded to the point of being virtually unrecognizable. I wondered who I was. Since then, I have developed a particular interest in fingerprint identity methods of recognition questioning myself about the axiomatic value of photography. My experimental artwork aims to depict non-figurative but reliable forms of identity, rather than to represent a visual “truth” based on the Renaissance perspective and traditional principles of representation.

Gloria Marco Munuera, Baby Rock, 2007, courtesy of AD GALLERY

K: Describe your series

GMM: Both of my series Ashes and Photo-Impressions; Epidermal Landscapes follow the impetus of creating an image that is one of a kind, unique like each one of us. That is why I use the skin as the main subject rather than the image of people’s appearance. In my work object and image, reality and what is represented, are confronted face to face.
Ashes is a series of photograms showing the facial imprint of different individuals on a black background. This project shows that the real identity of an individual may lie on the imprint of the skin, but not on its colour, or on the structure of our heads. This project aims to contribute to an increase in respect for cultural diversity while highlighting individual identity within our common biological legacy.

Gloria Marco Munuera, Ashes #10, 2020, courtesy of AD GALLERY

Instead, Photo-Impressions; Epidermal Landscapes is a collection of large-scale photograms that represent the imprint of the full skin of human bodies placed directly on photographic paper sensitized to light. In the same way in which we cannot make two fingerprints in an identical way, Photo-Impressions Series are also unique photographs, originally created and processed in the darkroom through traditional and chemical processes.

K: How do you make your artworks?

GMM: The creative process on which my work is based is to use the skin of the human body as if it were a screen-printing plate. Similar to ancient techniques like ‘gyotaku’ in Enoshima, the body transfers, through pressure, its own image, size, shape and texture onto the photographic paper, putting in evidence the indexical sign that may link a particular subject with its direct trace. This printing technique, known as ‘photogram’, involves no camera or machinery but the simple imprint of a composition bathed in light. 
These series of works represent a real and true picture of the epidermal identity of the subjects evoking more a painting than a photograph.

Gloria Marco Munuera, Sacrifice of Deer Woman, 2007, courtesy of AD GALLERY

K: What are you inspired by?

GMM: Moved by a scientific interest in the dactyloscopy process, for these series I have been inspired by the Avant-garde modernist works of Christian Schad, Man Ray and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy who rediscover the artistic potential of the photogram technique. 
My piece Sacrifice of Deer Woman has been strongly influenced by the symbolic work of Frida Kahlo, who portrayed herself as a wounded deer in her famous painting The Little Deer (1946). Broom Woman, instead, has been inspired by the surrealist inventiveness of Marc Chagall’s works, who used to paint with a vein of humour and fantasy drawing deeply on the resources of the unconscious. Indeed, my artwork wants to represent all of Chagall’s passionate characters floating or flying in the sky. Finally, the simple and flattened poses of the bodies in Baby Rock and Black Angels were inspired by Yves Klein’s early works instead.

Gloria Marco Munuera, Black Angels, 2007, courtesy of AD GALLERY

K: What is the purpose of your artworks?

GMM: My intentions within these series of works were to merge the indexical -pseudo-scientific-qualities of the photogram together with its potential capacity to represent abstract figures. Thus I created the body of my work composed of images that, on the one hand, represent nothing more than the actual imprint of the skin, but, on the other, become evanescent dreamlike figures full of creative nuances.

Cover image: Gloria Marco Munuera, The voyage of the Broom Woman, 2007, courtesy of AD GALLERY

Writen by Kooness

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