VIK MUNIZ: FOTOCUBISMO 20 April – 26 May 2023 Ben Brown Fine Arts 52 Brook’s Mews London W1K 4DG
Ben Brown Fine Arts is pleased to announce FOTOCUBISMO, the gallery’s fourth solo exhibition at the London gallery of internationally acclaimed Brazilian artist and photographer Vik Muniz, opening this April. Vik Muniz is widely known for his use of unusual materials and objects to recreate iconic works from art history, the final artwork often being a photograph of the resulting collage, forming new interpretations and new perspectives.
Exhibited for the first time in the United Kingdom, FOTOCUBISMO features work from Muniz’s most recent Surfaces series, which explores concepts of perception, reality, and representation alongside challenging traditional notions of materiality. Muniz’s work often draws on influences from classic and iconic images. Looking to Cubist masters such as Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Georges Braque, the unique works are a result of the hybrid technique which sees the artist photographing handcrafted, three- dimensional elements – most notably painting and collaged components – which are reprocessed through photographic collages. Muniz’s newest works invite viewers to question and explore what lies beneath the surface, and to dissect each layer amidst the overlapping interventions.
“I’ve always been drawn to Cubism, which often causes us to question our reality – through shape, form, composition. It goes beyond the pure mathematical figure or a flat composition. To me it was an art movement which humanized these very general, traditional ideas of perspective and placed them in a tactile world of sensation and feeling.” – Vik Muniz
Muniz is renowned for his complex photographic works and unique employment of a wide range of unconventional materials, including dust, sugar, chocolate, diamonds, caviar, toys, junk, scrap metal, dry pigment, vintage postcards, and magazine shreds. Over the course of his career to date, Muniz has re-created Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper out of chocolate syrup, Warhol’s Double Mona Lisa using peanut butter and jelly, as well as a Botticelli’s iconic The Birth of Venus, formed from gears, bottle caps and engine parts as part of his Pictures of Junk series (2006-2009).
Most crucial for Muniz – originally a sculptor – is the idea of photographic representation, and the complex relationship between photography and mental images as memory or imagination, which have been the backbone of his photographic work for the past thirty years, throughout which he consistently bends and blurs the lines of representation and reality. An advocate of nature, sustainability and on a mission to better the world we live in, Muniz represented the Brazilian Pavilion at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001 and in 2010 was the subject of the Oscar-nominated and Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary feature film Waste Land. He has been appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador twice, in 2011 and 2020.
Whilst Muniz began his life as a sculptor, he has always put his work to the task of addressing global issues and has created many public works and installations to point a lens on issues requiring actions and change. Over the course of three years, the artist’s Pictures of Junk series was a long-term collaboration (2006 – 2009) between the artist and resident garbage pickers of Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest garbage dump, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. With scraps of refuse collected from the landfill, Muniz recreated famous works by Old Master painters, assembling large scale arrangements on a warehouse floor, which when viewed from above, simulate the original iconic, historic classics.
Muniz has exhibited worldwide, and his work is included in major collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and Tate, London. His sculptural work has appeared in numerous and widespread exhibitions including the 2015 Venice Biennale, Glasstress 2019, and Frieze Sculpture 2019.
The materiality of Muniz’s work has made him a desired choice amongst luxury brand houses, seeing him collaborate with Ruinart, Perrier Jouet, LVMH and Bernardaud, as well as making him a creative favourite of globally renowned designer and architect Peter Marino.
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