Brazilian-born, Brooklyn-based fine artist Vik Muniz has exhibited his work all over the world. Using unexpected materials to create portraits, landscapes and still lifes — which he then photographs — he delights in subverting a viewer’s expectations.
Why you should listen to him:
Because he’s self-effacing, frankly open and thought-provoking, all at the same time. Vik Muniz’s explorations into the power of representation and his masterful use of unexpected materials such as chocolate syrup, toy soldiers and paper confetti mean that his resulting images transcend mere gimmickry.
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 recently featured in a documentary entitled “Waste Land,” screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film 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.