The Brazilian artist Vik Muniz (Sao Paulo, 1961) became known on the international art scene at almost the same time that he was recognised as an emerging artist in his own country, in the mid eighties. This coincidence between his own artistic task and the air du temps of a decade as expressionist as the last but one of the last century largely contributed to the rapid rise of his renown as a artist of international prestige. Those postmodern times, we insist, worked in his favour. His work knew perfectly how to engage, in equal measure, with History and the Market.
A great expert on the history of art and highly sensitive and intelligent in his decoding and deconstruction, Muniz has engaged with Géricault, Goya or Rembrandt, but also with the much quoted Duchamp, or the less familiar David Smith or Richard Serra, not forgetting to pervert certain 20th century icons like Che Guevara, a genuine “touchstone” in the years of his most impulsive media fame, whom he used to recreate by means of a system as infrequent as using chocolate to represent the image of the Cuban-Argentinian leader in different forms. He is the creator of innumerable series on a range of motifs, all of which have a common denominator: he first stages the “expressive action” like a theatrical model and then, after a long, laborious process of composition, proceeds to photograph, almost always in large formats, what he has created as a “staging of passion”. The result is the photographs of the photographer Vik Muniz.
Luis Francisco Pérez