Profiles in Art: Vik Muniz "A beating heart"

front self portrait

It's impossible, possibly criminal (my opnion), to discuss art without mentioning the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz.  Born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, he moved to New York (with "hush money" received after being shot).  The title "artist" seems oddly understated for all that Vik Muniz has done, and continues to do. He was an "ad man", is a photographer, sculptor, painter who uses no paint... he is "an idea".   He makes works using very unusual elements: caviar, diamonds, hair strands, dust ... Monalisa was designed in jelly and peanut paste; the actress Elizabeth Taylor drawn with diamonds; photographs were reproduced with sugar and the Holy Communion recreated with liquid chocolate.  He is self-aware and socially conscious. He is art

 
 For Muniz "...using chocolate is something normal"
he said once during an interview, adding that
"... paint was bizarre, because you do not even know what's inside [of it]".

 

GEORGE STINNEY JR. 

GEORGE STINNEY JR. 

 

Muniz was invited to hold a Ted Talk in 2003 and speak about creation - in 15 minutes. He did it wonderfully, with ruminations about creation vs. creativity, self-reflection and discovery, all relevant, teachable lessions today.  

"When I was a teenager, I was a creator, I just did things.  Then I became an adult and started knowing who I was, and tried to maintain that persona -- I became creative."

 

His works have passed through popular museums, among them, the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, as well as the Tate Modern in London. He is not an artist who wants his work to be seen only on the internet.  He sees the exhibition as an important factor in experiencing his creations.  He  made the comparison with viewing his work on the internet versus in a museum: "it is just like seeing a photo of mango (fruit), but without ever having tasted it!"

There is a long list of locations in which his exhibits have won the world over  -  Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Argentina, France, Colombia - displaying his genius of inspired classics, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Andy Warhol and Claude Monet.  Perhaps equally as long is the notation of materials he has used to display his definition of creativity that manipulates the eye and mind. 

Caravaggio medusa plate  1597   // muniz marinara plate 1999

Caravaggio medusa plate  1597   // muniz marinara plate 1999

It’s not about fooling somebody, it’s actually giving somebody a measure of their own belief: how much you want to be fooled. That’s why we pay to go to magic shows and things like that.” (Vik Muniz)

It’s not about fooling somebody, it’s actually giving somebody a measure of their own belief: how much you want to be fooled. That’s why we pay to go to magic shows and things like that.” (Vik Muniz)

 

Muniz is still doing social works (such as the giant paper boat for the Venice Biennale, which called attention to human trafficking) and of his documentaries, "Waste Land" - filmed over two Years, between 2007 and 2009, in one of the largest landfills in the world known as Jardim Gramacho, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro  - won Muniz an Oscar nomination.   But Muniz works have the power to transcend and in 2016 he was one of the Directors of the Opening Ceremony of the Brazilian Paralympic Games.

For Vik Muniz, an artist today can and should be involved with all possibilities of images and technology.  Art, beyond material, must establish a relationship between the work and the sensibility of the people.  

2016 Paraolympics opening ceremony Rio de janiero

2016 Paraolympics opening ceremony Rio de janiero

Vik Muniz accomplished this masterfully during the 2016 Para Olympic's opening ceremony: a live play for millions of people around the world, with pieces of headbreaks carried by the athletes, forming the human heart. A giant beating heart!   

Today, ours beats for him!

 

 

Contributed by

ANA MARIGLIANI (BRAZIL)

 

Fall in love today:

http://vikmuniz.net/