The New York and Rio de Janeiro-based artist Vik Muniz (born Brazil, 1961) combines strategies of appropriation and translation with methods of drawing and collage to create photographs that ask us to look closer at what, and how, we think we see. Using a variety of everyday material (chocolate, yarn, magazines, garbage, dust, etc.) and often working in series, Muniz recreates often-reproduced images from photojournalism, his own photographs, or works from art history before further translating these ephemeral (re)creations through photography. His work wittily asks how a material’s metaphorical relationship to a subject might inform its function as a medium of representation, ultimately suggesting how the construction of an image contributes to the mutability of its meaning.
Bringing together works from Henry holdings and private collections, this exhibition highlights the variety of ways Muniz’s work has troubled stable notions of form and content, inviting viewers to contemplate the nature of illusions and the networks of meaning and memory that structure our visual perception and the capacity of our mind’s eye. As Muniz explains, “I have always considered myself a twisted kind of realist.”
Muniz began his career in New York City in the late 1980s and has since gone on to achieve international acclaim. A prolific artist who exhibits globally, he is also actively involved in a number of social projects and was named a Unesco Goodwill Ambassador in 2011.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, Vik Muniz traces the development of his work from the very beginning of his career to his most recent large-scale works. Vik Muniz is celebrated for his joyful, quirky, dark, and occasionally mind-boggling work that riffs on popular photographic imagery, referencing social icons and cultural realities and juxtaposing these themes in fascinating ways. This book features an extraordinary selection of works that span Muniz’s entire career―more than 150 color illustrations display the enormous range of Muniz’s work and the disorienting and expansive logic of his world.