Indepth Arts News: |
"Vik Muniz: Seeing Is Believing"
1999-06-25 until 1999-09-26
Center for Creative Photography
USA United States of America
Vik Muniz works with the syntax of photography, but his images are not simply photographic. “Muniz has teased the medium
mercilessly and with an infectious glee. He makes pictures of pictures—sly, punning documents,” said The Village Voice. Utilizing a
panoply of unorthodox materials—granulated sugar, tomato sauce, chocolate syrup, a 16,000-yard piece of sewing thread, soil—Muniz
first creates an image, sculpturally manipulates it, then photographs it. A portrait, a landscape, an iconic historical image, Muniz’s
pictures are never what they seem.
For example, Muniz drew Harold Edgerton's famous photograph of a drop of milk captured in time. Only Muniz drew the image in
chocolate syrup and quickly photographed the chocolate drawing before it ran off the page. His work of art is a photograph of his drawing
of a photograph.
The exhibition, which includes approximately 100 images from 14 photographic series made during the past decade, is the first
museum survey of the artist’s work. Vik Muniz: Seeing Is Believing was organized by the International Center of Photography and is
traveling internationally under the auspices of The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College.
Curator Stainback describes how Muniz engages viewers in this work: “What are we to make of that gray area between reality and
fiction, the illusion that we know to be make-believe yet has all the trappings of the real thing? They talk the talk, walk the walk, but
something is a tad off in many of Muniz's photographs, leading us to question the very conditions that we have assumed were essential
characteristics of a representation. By toying with these assumptions, by subverting the basic tenets of what a photograph is supposed
to be, Muniz appears to be both shaman and heretic.”
Vik Muniz’s work has recently been included in numerous group exhibitions, including New Photography 13 at the Museum of Modern
Art, New York. He has had numerous gallery exhibitions and is included in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, the San
Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and other museums in the United States, Europe, and his native Brazil. In 1998, Muniz participated in
the 24th São Paulo Bienial, and curated an exhibition of 19th century photographs for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vik Muniz was born
in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1961. Currently, he lives and works in New York.
Visitors can attend a presentation at the opening reception by the exhibition’s curator to hear about this exhibition of the artist's work
and then hear from the artist himself at the closing reception.