Concepción, Chile, 1956
Guillermo Muñoz Vera was born in Concepción, in the region of Araucanía, Chile, in 1956.
In 1973 he moved to Santiago where he enrolled at the University of Chile’s school of Fine Arts. In 1978 he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a major in Painting. His scientific thesis was entitled “Luz, Visión y Materia” [Light, Vision, and Matter]. In 1979, at the age of 23, he traveled to Spain in order to complete his academic training and study European artistic heritage in depth. In 1985 he relocated to Madrid and obtained Spanish citizenship.
In the 1980s Muñoz Vera lived and worked around the neighborhood of Malasaña, moving between the streets of Puebla, Barco, Desengaño, and Pez. His motifs were fuelled by neighborhood life; a form of intimate urban realism from the perspective of a foreign chronicler portraying the dark side of areas in which the “Movida Madrileña” countercultural movement was unfolding.
His first monographic book was a selection of works produced in the decade from 1981 to 1991. The critical text it contained was written by Matías Díaz Padrón, Department of Flemish and Dutch 17th Century Painting Chief Curator at the Prado Museum. An exhibition hosted at the Asamblea de Madrid entitled “Ayer Madrid Ahora” [Madrid Yesterday Now] granted him access to the international art market through the German art dealer based in Hamburg Thomas Levy.
From that moment onward he worked with several galleries and art dealers, participating in numerous individual and collective exhibition as well as contemporary art fairs mainly in Germany, Italy, the United States, Chile, and Spain.
In 1994 he created the ARAUCO Academy (an acronym for Contemporary Art and Authors) and began his activity as an educator. He held the positions of Director and Professor of Painting at said institution. He collaborated in the management and sponsorship of non-profit educational and cultural activities and in the creation of teaching workshops, painting competitions, exhibitions, summer courses, and scholarships for young painters.
In 1997 he relocated to Chinchón, a small medieval town located a few kilometers south of Madrid where he opened his studio and the main premises for the Academy’s activities, which provided workshops and a residential space for students.
In the year 2000 Madrid City Hall sponsored his first retrospective exhibition at the Centro Cultural de la Villa. The show comprehended 27 years of uninterrupted work through 140 pieces belonging to private collections from around the world.
In 2002 he was invited to paint the iconic metro station of La Moneda near the Presidential Palace in Santiago de Chile. Through 14 mural paintings comprising a total of 180 square meters, the author portrayed his particular vision of the country’s landscape: from the Atacama Desert to the glaciers in Patagonia and from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes Mountain Range, making this station a unique and permanent subterranean public museum. Motivated by the preparatory sketches he produced for the mural paintings, he began a pictorial series entitled Cuadernos de Viaje [Travel Notebooks]. The combination of these paintings and texts resulted in several projects, publications, and exhibitions: Chile Hoy [Chile Today] , Chile del Bicentenario [Bicentennial Chile] , Realidad[es] Española[s] [Spanish Realities] , 8 días en la Habana [8 Days in Havana] , Región de Bolivar [Region of Bolivar] , Terra Australis Incognita , La Luz de la Alhambra [The Light of the Alhambra], De Al Ándalus a Egipto [From Al-Andalus to Egypt] , Analogías & Dicotomías [Analogies and Dichotomies] , and 56°Latitud Sur: de Castilla de Tierra del Fuego [56° South Latitude: From Castile to Tierra del Fuego].
Muñoz Vera is considered one of the greatest exponents of Spanish New Realism. He is a precursor of the School of Chinchón, a group of realist painters from different nationalities who studied at his studio/school. Since 2010 he has been associated with some of the historical founders of the North American Hyperrealist movement conceived in the 1960s at the Forum Gallery in New York. He currently combines his activity at the studio with writing and studying different matters related to the history of the image and visual technology.