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Indepth Arts News:

"Vik Muniz Curated by Miguel Fernandez-Cid"
2003-12-22 until 2004-03-07
Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea
Santiago, , ES Spain

On Thursday December 18th, the Galician Center for Contemporary Art (CGAC) open ed an exhibition of Vik Munik (Sao Paulo, 1961), a Brasilian artist citizen of New York since 1983, to whom the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museu de Arte Moderna de Sao Paulo, the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art and The Museo dŽarte contemporanea di Roma have already opened solo exhibitions, during the last two years.

The exhibition Vik Muniz will present in CAGC is formed by 53 works of art, grouped in series whose title generally refers to the material they are created with: Pictures of Wire, Pictures of Thread, The Sugar Children, Pictures of Chocolate, Pictures of Dust, Pictures of Ink, Pintures of Colour, Prisons, Pictures of Earthwork [ The Sarzedo Drawings], Pictures of Clouds, Pictures of Magazines, Erotica, Pillows (After Durer) and Cathedrals.

This last series includes some works which Munik created from the Way of Santiago de Compostela when the artst covered this route in the Spring of 2003: Burgos, Leon and Santiago de Compostela are works that Vik Muniz will present for the first time in the Galician Center for Contemporary Art.

Muniz works like a craftsman in his workshop with very different materials: chocolate, dust, thread, wire, sugar. He creats with them portraits and architectures, reproduces very well-known images and works of other artists and then he photographied them. The resault is never what it it seems at first sight: he deceives the obsever's eye and he obliges them to look at them again. Vik Muniz arrived at New York 20 years ago, with no plans to be an artist. For years he "didnŽt do much", waiting tables while struggling to make ends meet. From chilhood he was always a "compulsive drawer", so he rented a studio in the Bronx. His career took off in 1995 when he showed six small portraits, Sugar Children in Soho. Via his weird and wonderful choice of media, his aim is to force the viewer to re-examine what he sees, or thinks he sees: often a well-known image such as Tiananmen Square, the Mona Lisa, Pollock, a paper clip, Monet's Haystacks, created in syrup or dirt. "What Am I looking at? That's one question I am always trying to evoke in my work. I'am a totally retinal artist".

His images are not one-to-one copies of nature, bur intentionally exhibit subtle imperfections owing to his unusual choice of material. Using everyday, domestic items, Munik composes portraits of well-known anonymous individuals, recreats famous art historical paintings and mimics the appearance of various types of artistic media. His photographs trick the eye, momentarily destabilizing our responses, leading us to contemplate the contradictions between reality and representation, between the original and the copy. What is most stimulating and likable about Muniz's photographs is his light-hearted, smart and witty aproach to complex ideas and phiolosophical questions.

Matthew Drutt has called Muniz "a provocateur", a conceptual prankster who delights in transformation of things both sacred and profane". Muniz says, "I'm not an appropiator. I'm a copyist. When you copy, you add something of yourself and you actually update the image. As long as you do it with respect and sincerity. Some images are so amazing they deserve to be revisited. Like Monet's Haystacks. I never work with images I don't respect. I've never had copyright problems. Recently I asked the Liechtenstein Foundation for permission to do a series on his famous brushstroke paintings but in chocolate. They said they were flattered".

He likes physical aspect too. For Muniz, chocolate or sugar is a means to an end. "Im trying to redefine the media by making it quite physical. When you see what an image is made of, it makes you aware that a picture is always made out of somthing. A lot of what I begin with is not intellectual, psychological or political. It's physical. You want people to spend more time looking at the image".

The exhibition, which everybody will be able to visit from December onwards at the Galician Center for Contemporary Art, will give us an importan sample of each of the series which configure Vik Miuniz's work, as well as letting us know towards where he leads his future proyects.

signed and dated
Galerie Xippas label on verso
chromogenic color print
975.8 x 741.2 in.
(248 x 189.2 cm)

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