Vik Muniz – Pictures of America

Vik Muniz

Pictures of America

15.01.16 07.05.16

Xippas Geneva Past

The Xippas Gallery of Geneva is happy to present the exhibition Pictures of America by the artist Vik Muniz. A magician of images, Vik Muniz uses unlikely materials – copper wire, chocolate, caviar, ketchup, dust, toys, diamonds, and trash – to construct images that are part of our collective visual memory. These images are then photographed, in order to create distance between themselves from the originals items, and to bring us face to face with the illusions of representation.

Pictures of America gathers a set of artworks inspired by the American history, reinterpreted by the Brazilian artist. From the Statue of Liberty, to the Demoiselles d’Avignon, MoMa’s masterpiece composed in puzzle pieces, to the Andy Warhol’s Race Riot, remembering the numerous ethnical conflicts that tore apart the continent, each piece narrates Vik Muniz’s vision of America. Masterpieces, celebrities, myths and clichés, everything is redrawn and reinterpreted.

Through this American culture panorama, the gallery presents a selection of Vik Muniz’s renowned series, such as « Pictures of Paper », « Pictures of Pigments », « Pictures of Ink », « Gordian Puzzle » and « Diamonds Divas ».

In reinforcing our feeling of familiarity, Vik Muniz deceives us. He wants us to be doubtful, critical and analytical. Although his pictures appear familiar, they indeed unsettle the process of identification. Pictures of America invites us to enter in the history of the United-States while simultaneously forcing us to question the various representations of the country presented in this selection.

Vik Muniz was born in 1961 in Sao Paulo. He left Brazil in 1984 and settled in New York in 1986. His first sculptures trompe l’oeil show for example a deflated soccer ball in bronze painted so as to resemble the original object, or a “Clown Skull” in a plastic mold with a round nose which looks as if it had been found in an archaeological dig. In 1988, he lost his copy of the book “The Best of Life” and then started drawing the pictures he liked best, photographing them afterwards. The questions raised here about the essence of vision and the role of photography are at the roots of his approach. He now exclusively focuses on photography and explores the status of visual representation. In 2011, the Oscar-nominated documentary « Waste Land », directed by L. Walker, followed the artist Vik Muniz in his artistic collaboration with the catadores, pickers of recyclable materials on one of the world’s largest landfills, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

Numerous international solo-shows have been consecrated to Vik Muniz, among them: International Center of Photography, New York (1998); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2001); The Menil Collection, Houston (2002); the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Dublin (2004) and, more recently, the Berardo Collection, Lisbon (2011); the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC), Lima, Perou (2014), Quito in Equador (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art, Tel-Aviv, Israel (2014), Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai (2014) and Rencontres photographiques d’Arles in France (2014). In 2015, the Low Art Museum of Miami and the Taubman Museum of Art of Roanoke, United-States, both presented the exhibition Poetics of Percep.

In 2016, the High Museum of Art of Atlanta, United States, and the Mauritshuis Museum, Netherlands, will both devote a personal exhibition to the artist.

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