Since the mid 1990s, Vik Muniz (b. 1961, São Paulo) has been incorporating everyday objects into his photographic process to create witty, bold, and often deceiving images based on photojournalism and art history. The Brazilian-born, New York-based artist makes pictures from dirt, diamonds, sugar, wire, string, chocolate syrup, peanut butter, dust, ketchup, the circular paper remnants made by hole punches, junk, pigment, and other materials. Though Muniz’s images are often familiar—borrowing from popular culture and Old Master artists—it is quickly evident that they are not what they seem. Using an approach that the artist calls “the worst possible illusion,” the works are formed from materials gathered from everyday life, which Muniz arranges and photographs, rather than traditional artistic materials.
Vik Muniz: Reflex surveys more than 100 photographic works produced from 1988 to the present. It comprises all of his major series to date, including images from the Best of Life series, in which he drew from memory well-known images from Life magazine examining the selective nature of memory; The Sugar Children, renderings of the children of Caribbean sugar cane workers rendered in sugar; and Pictures of Chocolate, which uses Bosco as a drawing tool. Works from Muniz’s newest series, including Pictures of Junk, Pictures of Pigment, and Mounds are also featured.
The exhibition is accompanied by 204-page book, Reflex: A Vik Muniz Primer, published by the Aperture Foundation. The book, authored by Muniz and richly illustrated not only with his own works, but with works from the history of art and photography and scientific diagrams dealing with everything from perception theory to printing processes.
After San Diego, this show will travel to the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Web Site