Indepth Arts News: |
"Short Stories - Vik Muniz: Reparte"
2001-10-04 until 2001-12-16
Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington
USA United States of America
Vik Muniz specializes in fake reality
and real fakes. His work constitutes a
witty dialogue – or reparté – with the
history of images. He makes what he
describes as ... the worst possible
illusion that will still fool the eye.
Because, he says, illusions as bad
as mine make people aware of the
fallacies of visual informa-tion and
the pleasure to be derived from such
Beginning in advertising and
experiment-ing with sculptural form
on the side, Muniz gradually became
increasingly interested in
photographs of his objects and less
interested in the sculptures
themselves. By 1993 he was
constructing pictures out of wire that
he then photographed. Eventually,
turning his attention exclusively to
photography, his object making
served to produce dispos-able tools
used to pose questions about
representation. As the artist
observed, these images at first look
like drawings, but when the viewer
realizes he is looking at a photograph
of something that actual-ly exists in
the world of objects, the
‘rep-resentative’ content of the images suffers a semantic short circuit.
Muniz employs unusual materials including potting soil, leftover spaghetti marinara and the contents of ashtrays. He redraws
familiar – or famous – images in sugar, thread or chocolate syrup. After the pictures are taken, the original objects are destroyed:
the sugar cleared off the paper, the thread reused and the choco-late perhaps eaten. Muniz explains that the photographs
manufacture a quality of monumentality lacking in such materials. Photography he says, endorses the existence of things. A
chocolate puddle with the likeness of Freud becomes part of the same history as its notable subject. Photography reveals their
true identity as objects.
Vik Muniz: Reparté, a featured exhibition in Short Stories, includes characteristic pho-tographic series such as Pictures of Soil,
The Sugar Children, and Pictures of Chocolate. Reparté also showcases photo-graphs and other objects from the artist’s own
collections that reveal the grand tradition of fakery embedded in the history of photography. His cliché-verre prints – Barbizon
drawings scratched into a blackened glass plate and printed as photographs – provide a context for Muniz’s own fusion of drawing
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1961, Muniz has lived and worked in New York City since the mid-1980s. He has shown at the
Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate Gallery, London and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York among many
other institutions. Muniz is featured in the current Venice Biennale.
Collection Lauren L. Esposito, Atlanta.
Courtesy Brent Sikkema, NY.