“The moment one thing transforms to another is the most beautiful moment. That moment is really magical.” Vik Muniz 2008
Since the Olympics are starting in Rio De Janeiro this week, I thought it would be nice to look at Brazilian artist Vik Muniz’s work, who uses household materials to create 2-D sculptural pieces based on iconic pictures from art history or pop culture which are then photographed with a large format camera. These household materials, such as chocolate, syrup, cotton threads, sugar, caviar, scrap metals and finally plain old garbage create a kind of tension with the viewer, since, these materials are either edible, delicious, sweet, luxurious or disgusting.
Anyone who has read my other blog posts would know that Muniz is not the first nor only artist to use garbage, or to make an installation garbage-like, so what in the world is so interesting about this?
What I found most interesting from Muniz’s vast body of work is this documentary he did, or starred in, Waste Land (2010) directed by Lucy Walker, which depicts Muniz’s project to work with garbage and people who recycle garbage, who happen to be the lowest class of people in Brazil. The central premise and the purpose of the film is the question: Can contemporary art really change the lives of ordinary people, and by extension, change the world?