Vik Muniz

From: 2005-04-21
To: 2005-07-19

The Cardi gallery presents a solo show by Vik Muniz, an artist born in San Paolo in 1961 and now living in New York. In this, his second show in Milan, the Brazilian artist is presenting seven large-scale works from the series Pictures of Magazines, among which a triptych inspired by Monet consisting of three panels 150 x 300cm. each. There are also six pieces from the Rebus series, all of them photographic colour prints. Vik Muniz became interested in photography at the beginning of his career when he was making sculpture. When preparing photos of his works to send to museums he realised that only when he saw his works reproduced two-dimensionally did he remember them in all their details: to remember them three-dimensionally was fairly difficult. With regard to this Muniz likes to quote Willem De Kooning who did not recognise his own dentist, invited to dinner by his wife. During the evening the artist decided to make a portrait of his guest and, having finished it, he said: ‘Do you know what? You look just like my dentist!’ This is how there was born the idea of photographing the subject of a work in order to make it abstract, dysfunctional but also ultimately recognisable. To construct the subjects to be photographed the artist undertakes a complex procedure of composition and re-composition: for example, in the series Pictures of Magazines Vik Muniz shows us still-lifes created by assembling and superimposing many tiny magazine cuttings from which emerge well-known vases of flowers and landscapes by such masters as Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, and Redon. From the starting point of a coloured cutting, Muniz reconstructs an image which creates an alienating effect in the viewer whose task it will then be to interpret these signs and re-elaborate the image. The artist is interested in showing the visible marks that make up the image rather than simply photographing the objects. The creation of the model to photograph is a fundamental step: juxtaposing the magazine cuttings, the toys in the Rebus series, the drops of chocolate syrup in the Picture of Chocolate series is a carefully controlled gestation period. The duration of the image created in this way is, in fact, the equivalent of the fraction of a second it took to photograph it. From this point of view the photograph can be considered as a continuation of painting, as the final phase of a technical research aimed at making a representation as near as possible to reality, in other words to make the marks composing the image imperceptible but visible, as though we were looking at a real object. In his catalogue essay Demetrio Paparoni writes, ‘Muniz does not copy the art of the past nor does he repeat the experiences of others; he is not what they call an Expropriator. In order to answer the questions he poses himself, he studies the processes that generated the art of yesterday. In this sense he is in no way a Conceptualist, because his works do not find their sense in the questions they stimulate in the viewer but, rather, in the answers the artist manages to find for himself. However this may be, since in art as in science nothing can be excluded if it leads to a result, copying or repeating are not processes that diminish the work of an artist’. Paparoni further writes, ‘The work is an individual experience both for the person who makes it and for the person who looks at it, and since nothing is fixed and unchangeable in the mind of man, each new experience can generate a conceptual shift that might change our reading of a work. Muniz shows in his work that it is not critics who enlarge the interpretative range of art, but art itself which, by returning to the same themes and investigating them in depth, renovates itself through the work of new generations. Thanks to such artists as Muniz art remains alive, and museums are not cemeteries but the forges of new ideas’.

© Galleria Cardi