Vik Muniz delights in subverting a viewer's expectations. He uses unexpected materials to create portraits, landscapes and still lifes, which he then photographs.
Why you should listen
Slf-effacing, frankly open and thought-provoking, all at the same time, Vik Muniz explores the power of representation. He's known for his masterful use of unexpected materials such as chocolate syrup, toy soldiers and paper confetti, but his resulting images transcend mere gimmickry. Most recently, he's been working with a team at MIT to inscribe a castle on a grain of sand ...
Muniz is often hailed as a master illusionist, but he says he's not interested in fooling people. Rather, he wants his images to show people a measure of their own belief. Muniz has exhibited his playfully provocative work in galleries all over the world and was featured in the documentary Waste Land, which follows Muniz around the largest garbage dump in Rio de Janeiro, as he photographs the collectors of recycled materials in which he finds inspiration and beauty. Describing the history of photography as "the history of blindness," his images simply but powerfully remind a viewer of what it means to see, and how our preconceptions can color every experience.
What others say
“Think of brilliant trickster Vik Muniz as the offspring of Man Ray and Jacques Henri Lartigue, combining the former's relentless experimentation, the latter's effortless wit, and their mutual inventiveness in work that defies category.” — Vince Aletti, the Village Voice