Vik Muniz

From: 2002-10-10
To: 2002-11-23

"I love Art in its entirety, and not as an inventory of independent disciplines." Galleria Cardi and Galleria Cardi & Co are pleased to present an exhibition of prints by Vik Muniz. The works on exhibit are an expression of the artist’s play with various media, including the weaving of photography with drawings, sculpture, painting, and design. Muniz’s works are suggestions belonging to the language of visual culture. His clever use of material not otherwise proper to design becomes the object of his conventional photographic prints. He applies both humour and criticism, as if to defy our capacity to discern fact from fiction, reality from appearance. With his use of unorthodox and unusual materials in photography, such as chocolate, soil, thread, and gelatine, the artist first creates an image by manipulating the material, then takes a shot. Thus, we have icons from everyday life such as sports and film stars and news events being represented by chocolate syrup. Muniz’s photography is able to synthesize the numerous elements of the portrayed subject. Taking pictures is to document, but also to idealize; and Muniz’s images tend to represent precisely this – the mental vision created when a person first sets his eyes on a photograph. The series of aerial photographs of objects drawn into the soil calls to mind photographic negatives. The land surface – which becomes the background – is illuminated, while the mark left by the artist – the subject – is the dark shadow. The result of all this is a photographic print. The spectator, however, is invited to reflect on what the objects present, as though in an exchange, rather than the predominance of one form on another. The objects represented in these works are taken from human, day-to-day and contemporary life, even though they call to mind the abstract and ancestral forms of the Nazca lines from Peru, or the abstract signs of the Earth Art of the ’60s (e.g., the famous Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson). The works shown at the last edition of the Venice Biennale were inspired by historical events belonging to the collective imagination, such as the New York Stock Exchange collapse in 1929, man landing on the moon, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the European discovery of America. They are, for the person of today, fundamental and familiar historical events, and yet, the way they are represented disconcerts the spectator. In this context, the artist portrays the sky as it appeared at the moment when and from the place where these events took place. The stars are air bubbles frozen in gelatine. In this exhibition, the artist is showing for the first time a new series of works. Once again, the theme is based on images from western culture, with particular reference to Giovan Battista Piranesi and his etchings. This "Venetian architect," as he used to call himself when he first began, was a famous 16th century etcher and a painter of vistas. He worked mainly in Rome, but was in contact with Tiepolo’s studio and other painters of vistas such as Bellotto and Canaletto. It was from his experience with these artists that he decided to develop a technique for etching influenced by painting, whereby he applied smears to the distinct marks of the etcher’s needle. Fascinated by this etching technique that was open to painting and architecture, Vik Muniz chose Piranesi’s series of plates entitled "Carceri d’invenzione" (1745 – 1761) as his subject. The marks of the etcher’s needle are represented by woollen thread fixed to pins in Muniz’s works. Muniz’s past experiments using wire in the place of pencil etchings, such as his reproductions of Rembrandt’s sketches, have been improved on with woollen thread. This allows him to better represent the use of perspective so typical of Piranesi. As always, the result is a precious series of large prints.

© Galleria Cardi