A reflection by antoni muntadas on the use of words and the media can be seen at arco and subsequently in São Paulo

The installation entitled Words…, which will be on display at the ARCO fair in Madrid, occupies the stand of the Spanish newspaper El País and has been produced in collaboration with architect Juan Herreros. 

The artist, based in the United States, continues research on the use of language he began in New York. Now he will be showing a new installation which was recently presented in Spain by Moisés Pérez de Albéniz art gallery. In February, the ad hoc installation created by the artist can be visited at ARCO, and in March and April a new version of the series will be displayed in São Paulo (Brazil).

Nowadays, the use and abuse of certain terms leads to a degradation of their social value and triggers a reflection about language through the transformation of chosen terms into images. The procedure refers to ontological, semiological, typographical and translation decisions, presenting a visual breakdown of the process of loss of meaning.

Previous presentations of the project at Moisés Pérez de Albéniz art gallery (Madrid, 2017) and Artium (Vitoria, 2019) signaled the widespread erosion of language due to its social use, especially through the repetitive use of certain terms by politicians and the media.

At the invitation of El País for ARCOmadrid 2020, Muntadas has proposed a version of the project that does take context into consideration. First, the number of words is defined in relation to the exhibition space. In collaboration with architect Juan Herreros, a temporary structure has been designed and built to accommodate Words…, defining a specific display for the occasion.

The new project includes terms that hadn’t yet been used in the Words… project, which refer directly to the media, such as OPINION, OBJECTIVITY, FAKE NEWS, RESPONSIBILITY and MEDIA, besides POLITICS, IDEOLOGY or DEMOCRACY, DEMAGOGY and FEAR.

The version of Words… for El País uses the typography characteristic of this newspaper, whose logo has been part of the collective imagination of the printed press since its founding in 1976.

Muntadas’s work points out what is invisible to us but affects our lives, even if we are not aware of its existence, from macro to microstructures, like a “painter of the media landscape, dedicated to drawing relationships between things that remained hidden or in silence”, Fernández-Cañadas, 2017.

According to Armand Mattelart, Muntadas’s works, which he calls projects, are ultimately questions about “the immense loopholes of rebel thinking about the media.”

A new version of the Words… series will be displayed this March and April at Luisa Strina gallery in SãoPaulo (Brazil).



The installation, designed by estudioHerreros, is conceived as a dialogue between art and architecture. It is based on Muntadas’s idea that words are transformed into images. These images are then transferred to tarpaulins, which are the key elements of the project and are fixed onto a series of architectural walls. The width of the support, its zigzagged formalisation and the grey background refer to the urban materials and to the industrial condition of the building’s housing pavilion, especially its polished concrete floor. The geometry of the proposal is intended to include visitors and their movements by offering a sequence of perceptions that accompany the discovery of the images/words and accentuate their meaning.


Antoni Muntadas (Barcelona, 1942). Muntadas moved to New York in 1971 where he currently resides and works. During his early years, Muntadas focused his activity on new supports (audiovisual and multimedia) with a critical cultural approach to mass media, analysing the manipulations of advertising by political and economic powers and imparting courses and seminars around the world. He carries out teaching works in several centers and conducts seminars in different institutions such as the University of San Diego, the National Higher School of Fine Arts of Paris, the Fine Arts schools of Bordeaux and Grenoble, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Cooper Union in New York. He is currently professor at the Department of Architecture, of the Visual Arts Programme at the IUAV in Venice.

ABOUT estudioHerreros

estudioHerreros is an architectural studio with offices in Madrid, New York and Mexico City. The studio was founded by Juan Herreros, Professor of Architectural Design at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and Full Professor at Columbia University in New York, who runs the practice together with his partner, Jens Richter. The works of estudioHerreros have been widely acclaimed, published and exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Venice and Istanbul biennales and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). The firm has designed and built significant projects in the art world, such as the Munch Museum in Oslo, to be opened in 2020, the renovation of MALBA Museum in Buenos Aires, the CarrerasMugica art gallery in Bilbao, the refurbishment of the Reina Sofia Museum’s rooms and the Espacio SOLO in Madrid. estudioHerreros is currently developing a project to house an important contemporary art collection in Mexico and is designing a second venue for Espacio SOLO in Madrid.

The ARCO fair will take place in Madrid from 26 February to 1 March 2020.

arco muntadas estudio herreros

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