The Steerage (After Stieglitz) from Pictures of Chocolate, 2000From the series ‘Pictures of Chocolate’
Vik Muniz Biography
Vik Muniz, born in December 1961 in Sao Paolo, Brazil, is an influential Brazilian artist and photographer best known for his complex visual artworks, recreating memorable photographs of historical paintings and pop culture references through ordinary objects. Influenced by artists such as Man Ray and Max Ernst, Muniz's pieces are historical works and scenes that use various materials such as tomato sauce, diamonds, dirt, chocolate, jelly, toys, and trash.
Before Muniz became the critically acclaimed artist that he is, he set out as a trained sculptor. Through self-discovery, Muniz's specialized style originated from capturing a photograph of an earlier creation instead of keeping the original piece itself. Muniz, whose works are a reinterpretation of historical works, does not believe in original art but individuality. Muniz's artworks aim to remodel an already presented theme but provide a different yet stimulating perspective for his viewers.
Some of Muniz's most known works are released as a set of series. One series is the Khyber Pass, Self-Portrait as an Oriental, After Rembrandt, from the "Pictures of Junk" series in 2005. Muniz calls it "photographic delusions." Using hundreds of pieces of garbage and objects from the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Muniz assembled the gathered materials on the floor of an abandoned aircraft hangar, creating a multi-dimensional self-portrait, then photographed the work in the birds-eye view from a nearby crane. Creatively, the piece serves multiple purposes. Firstly, a reminder of the meticulous construct and secondly, Muniz's surroundings and how easily accessible it was gathering the sculpted composite.
Aside from capturing still images, Vik Muniz is also known for his documentaries Waste Land (2010) and This is Not a Ball (2014). These films capture his artworks in their essence, showing his creative process and where he draws his inspirations.