Vik Muniz
Brasil, 1961
Vik Muniz (São Paulo, Brazil, 1961) is one of the most well-known Brazilian artists of his generation, along with Ernesto Neto—who is also represented in this collection and with whom Muniz shared the Brazilian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001. After studying advertising at the Fundación Armando Álvares Penteadoin his hometown, Muniz moved to New York where he has lived since the late eighties. His early work was sculptural and in documenting the pieces he began to explore the photographic medium, which at the time was only starting to make its way into the art galleries. Muniz is one of the leading exponents of what is often called “constructed photography”, because he “creates” the reality that his images are based on. He uses mundane materials to reproduce scenes that he almost always takes from art history or the media. The scenes are recognisable to the spectator, allowing Muniz to use substances not generally considered artistic without hindering the interpretation of the images. His body of work is structured into series in which he has experimented with wires, sugar, threads, chocolate, marmalade, pins, paper cut-outs, plastic dolls... His work is very popular; his show at the MAM in Rio de Janeiro (2009) was the second most visited exhibition in the museum’s entire history, only surpassed by Picasso. In Spain, he is well known thanks to several shows at the Galería Elba Benítez and successive exhibitions in the Patio de Escuelas at the University of Salamanca (2000), Espai 13 at the Fundació Joan Miró (2002), CGAC (2003), Fundación Telefónica (2005) and CAC Málaga (2012). Each new series explores a different theme while developing the possibilities of the new, artistic material. Crowd at Coney Island belongs to the series ‘Pictures of Papers’ portraying compositions made with pieces of paper that recreate famous images in the history of 20th century photography. This piece is based on a snapshot taken by the photojournalist Weegee, who worked in New York during the thirties and forties. Starting with a black background, Muniz adds layer upon layer of paper cut-outs in various shades of grey until reaching the highlights in white. Much like other works by Muniz, this piece makes an enormous leap in scale compared to the original image.
Elena Vozmediano