Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is pleased to present an exhibition of new large-scale color photographs by Vik Muniz on view from September 9th through October 15th.
With this series, Pictures of Magazines 2, Muniz re-creates icons from the history of representation using images and text literally torn from books and magazines and from sources both high and low.
In a departure from previous series, the material Muniz uses here is not subservient to the image. The viewer must work much harder to “see” the re-created painting. The playing field is leveled – image and material have equal importance and even within the overall picture no specific component is privileged – a tabloid’s Scarlett Johansson snapshot, Klimt’s iconic portrait of Adele, a random bit of text, or a snippet of a Gauguin painting all carry equal weight.
This practice reflects modern life with its incessant influx of information, some of it seemingly worthy and some of it seemingly worthless. Western culture’s continuous iteration of updating, overwriting and replacement leaves an endless stream if garbage in its wake. The content of the stream becomes raw material in an act of renewal.
Muniz sees this most recent body of work as a continuation of his Pictures of Garbage series and the portraits he made of the Jardim Gramacho waste pickers. But here, rather than using physical garbage as his medium, Muniz draws from the endless media onslaught of our culture, a recycling of mental “garbage”. In culling images that feel familiar, things we may have looked at but have never really seen, Muniz asks us to consider what we have left behind in our voracious pursuit of the new.
Vik Muniz was the subject of the Academy Award nominated documentary film Waste Land (2010) which followed his work with a group of catadores – pickers of recyclable materials – in Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest garbage dump located outside Rio de Janeiro. In recognition of his contributions to education and social development including his work with the catadores, he was recently named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
Muniz’s work has been exhibited widely throughout the globe and is included in numerous public and private collections. Upcoming exhibitions are planned at Museu Colecção Berardo – Arte Moderna e Contemporânea, Lisbon, Portugal (Sep. 21 – Dec. 31); Galleria Cortona do Pallazzo Pamphilj, Rome, Italy (opening Nov. 2011); and Collection Lambert en Avignon, France (Dec. 2011 – April 2012).
Vik Muniz was born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1961. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.