Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1961. He is at the forefront of the Latin American generation of contemporary artists as well as being one of the most vibrant figures in the international contemporary art scene. Muniz works using unconventional materials such as diamonds, sugar, garbage, wire drawing, dust, caramel, jam and sawdust to create strictly crafted-like paintings inspired mostly by iconic pieces from Art History. Yet these paintings are part of a process where the final artwork is a limited and small series of photographic images. Among his best-known works are a series of paintings entitled Pictures of Chocolate (1997), where he has re-produced emblematic images such as the Mona Lisa, Marilyn Monrow, and Chairman Mao with chocolate syrup. The Junk Series (1995) recreates Old Master paintings of classical gods and heroes with industrial rubble such as bottle caps, discarded tires, soda cans, and scrap metal. It was the three-years-production film Waste Land that increased his international exposure, not to mention its nomination for the 83rd Academy Awards. Muniz´s unique visual language has kept him away from any categorization to date; his work might be equally influenced by Pop artists such as Warhol, Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns as much as Mannerist artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. His visual vocabulary does not necessarily address any local reference either and this has allowed him to secure a place within the international mainstream art market. His works have been acquired by MoMa, Tate Modern, the Metropolitan Museum and Israel Museum, among others. Muniz lives and works in New York.