Widely recognized for his use of unexpected materials, Vik Muniz’s work raises questions about the history of image-making and ideas of visual reproduction. He is known for his mixed-media works assembled from found objects—food, dirt, garbage—then repurposed and configured into intricate re-creations of canonical and historical artworks which are photographed for the final piece.
In the two works on display in this exhibition, he has subverted iconic images of classical mythological subjects. By rendering these figures using empty space and post-industrial detritus, he calls into questions the idealization of Greek and Roman Gods and their lasting impact on Western cultural history.
Vik Muniz’s work is included in numerous collections, including the Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato; The International Center of Photography, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the New Museum, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and the Nichido Contemporary Art, Tokyo; La Maison Européenne de la Photographie and Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. In 2001, Muniz represented Brazil at the 49th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia.
In 2008, Muniz began a project in Brazil photographing catadores (trash-pickers) and reconfigured the images into iconic paintings. The three-year endeavor was documented in the film Waste Land, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2011. In recognition of his commitment to social change and raising awareness about poverty, Muniz was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
Born in São Paulo, 1961 | Lives and works in New York and Rio de Janeiro
Vulcan Forges Cupid's Arrows, after Alessandro Tiarini, 2006, chromogenic print, 50 x 44 inches/127 x 111.8 cm, edition A.P. 2/4
Apollo and the Cumaean Sibyl, after Giovanni Domenico Cerrini, 2007, chromogenic print, 62 x 44 inches/157.5 x 111.8 cm each (diptych), edition 4/6
© 2006 and 2007 Vic Muniz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
With thanks to Frank Cassou.