"Perhaps the more successful things I have made have always been about something other than what you're actually looking at. And this other, this reference, this impossibility of representation that you try to describe is a boundary which confronts the sculpture. The limit that is pointed to by the object…." (J. Muño, in: Juan Muñoz. Monologues & Dialogues, exh. cat., Palacio Velazquez, Madrid 1997, p. 126.)
Juan Muñoz began the first of his Conversation Piece sculptures in the late 1980s. They were initially smaller than life size and bore round bases, no hands and faces that were only generally articulated. Fabricated in resin in his studio and then cast in bronze, these sculptures were general figurative types, with no distinction in clothing or facial expression and only slight differences in the turn of a hand or in the gesture of a hand.
By 1993, Muñoz began to seek a greater degree of characterisation without sacrificing the figurative type that he had established. He now made resin versions, creating a tan patina by employing studio assistants to paint the figures with resin and literally throw sand at the sculpture's wet surface. The stiff poses and generic hand and facial expressions of the initial bronzes gave way to figures that twist and turn and respond physically and psychologically to each other.
These conversation pieces evolved quite logically from the floor pieces and the balconies. In the floor pieces, Muñoz was creating empty but psychologically charged stages and the balconies were dealing with the absence of the human figure. Now Muñoz was concerned with the relationship of the spaces and the figures. "The work is involved in a dramatic relationship with whatever is outside of it. I like to believe that the best work can exist without and spectator. If it's anything to do with theatre, it's more to do with the rehearsal than with the performance." (J. Muñoz, in: ibid., p. 127.)
In London Conversation Piece, the lonely figure has "…a monologue in a room. One continuous monologue. I think that the experience of the artist in the studio is like an unrecorded monologue." (J. Muñoz, in: ibid.)