Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz, Sugar Children, 1998

Vik Muniz, Sugar Children, 1998

Vik Muniz (b.1961, São Paulo) has a longstanding fascination with photographic documentation. He has a personal collection of works by photographers who specialised in recording images of images, such as museological records and archives.

Muniz's works for TRACE entitled Aftermath (1998) and Sugar Children (1998), took the form of photographs of drawings done by the artist.

The drawings were, in turn, derived from his photographs of the original subjects. The images in Aftermath (1998) contained a further layer of reference. The subjects were street children in Brazil: extremely vulnerable children with whom the artist established a relationship of trust and collaboration. In this instance he invited them to find images they identified with in books on art history, then asked them to pose in the position of the principal figure in the selected painting. This was the starting point for a lengthy series of displacements.

The reproduced drawings appeared from a distance to be almost photographic in their realism, but on close inspection it became clear that the materials were far from conventional. For the Aftermath (1998) series Muniz collected street sweepings left over from the Carnivale in Rio and scattered them onto a light box. He then skilfully dusted and vacuumed the material away to produce a convincing replica of his original photograph. In Sugar Children (1998), as the title suggests, he used sugar as his medium. In each case there was a resonance between the material and the subject matter. The process itself was also highly suggestive, particularly in Aftermath (1998) where the dust and scattered sequins lent the images a forensic quality.

Vik Muniz at Liverpool Biennial 1999

Aftermath, 1998
Photographic Series
Collection Galeria Camargo Vilaca
Courtesy of Galeria Camargo Vilaca, São Paulo

Sugar Children, 1998
Series of 5 gelatin silverprint photographs 
Collection Galeria Camargo Vilaca
Courtesy of Galeria Camargo Vilaca, São Paulo