Esther Munoz Ramos
Esther Munez Ramos is a spanish-born visual/mixed media artist, based in London, UK.
Esther explores and exposes issues within society. She selects objects that play with and draw attention to pre-conditioned ideas and assumptions as well as the ugly truths we like to indulge in but never acknowledge.
Instead of a portrait, offering a representation of an individual, Esther holds up a metaphorical mirror and reflects back to her audience the stereotypes and generalisations that we have created. Inanimate objects, each carrying their own connotations, are manipulated and presented in such a way to challenge the viewer’s perceptions.
A zip forms a re-occurring motif, things being zipped away; keep your mouth closed and ugly truths hidden. Esther wants to “bring to light what is hiding”. She is concerned with the face-less victim, the mundane statistic. We are so over-loaded with media-reported imagery that our learned response is that of detachment. We have become immune, blind to society’s atrocities. Esther seeks to wake people up from this immunity.
Gender and identity provide important focal points. Passive and active roles are played with; a mirror’s reflection is replaced by a barcode, a zip becomes stripped of its function, items are rendered void or purely decorative, echoing the passive roles that women are often pushed into playing. In Puctum X and Y, the white X carries connotations of virginal purity, an aspect of femininity that is equated with value and expectation. The black Y is representative of the dark, strong, male character role that is often imposed on men.
Black and white is used again for symbolic reference in the ANONIMATOS series but this time to address issues of race and sexuality. A black slip hangs with 2 forks and a knife attached. They are in close proximity to where the sexual organs of the wearer would be. This arrangement personifies the objects and each has its own gender identity. The knife is distanced from the forks and represents the segregation that could be a consequence of same sex relationships within some societies and cultures.
Esther entices her audience with curious items and sensuous materials. After being visually seduced, the ideas behind the work start to soak in and the viewer becomes aware of the harsh realities to which the pieces refer. Through the use of narrative, characterisation and black and white items that could be said to be suggestive of pieces on a chessboard, Esther draws attention to the game of society in which there are always winners and losers.