I want the pictures to be beautiful and I want them to be easy to look at and have a residual effect. I also want them to be intelligent. I want to keep that edge to them, but I don’t want people to know that.

Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz was born in 1961 in San Paulo. Based in New York, the Brazilian artist is known all over the world for transforming any material into a medium of creation. Food, threads, garbage, diamonds, artificial substances, images cut out in magazines … He glues all this elements in expressive pictures which he photographs after posing them.

www (World Map), 2009
Vik Muniz, www (World Map), 2008

Vik Muniz, www (World Map), 2008, exposition at Christopher Henry Gallery

The Pictures of Junk series use detritus as an artistic medium. Indeed Vik Muniz recycles what he finds on an abandoned airfield and puts them together gigantic jigsaw puzzles. Then he photographs them from a crane, as in this map of the world’s junk.

This work is an huge photo representing a planisphere. Purposely they aren’t one, but three photos mach together creating a triptych. They shows the continents built with several electric and electronic parts, also with computer’s monitors. He went searching for this kind of waste in the garbage dumps of Rio de Janeiro.

 The multiple levels of perception and understanding of the work is revealed according to the point of view adopted by the viewer. What is the right distance to see the world ? To distance oneself, to put oneself to the side, or to come as close as possible? The place of the human being is between the infinitely large and the infinitely small.

Therefore this map is the reflection of how we use Earth. Muniz communicates through his work his fear on how we deal our waste. A somewhat apocalyptic vision of the future, Earth is presented as a vast dump that swallows us little by little. It is quite disturbing but really effective.

Vik Muniz, www (World Map), 2008

Vik Muniz, www (World Map), left panel, 2008

Vik Muniz, www (World Map), 2008

Vik Muniz, www (World Map), central panel, 2008

Vik Muniz, www (World Map), 2008

Vik Muniz, www (World Map), right panel, 2008