Vik Muniz - BRIC London Thursday, April 14, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, USA

  • Catalogue Essay

    Perhaps the most bewitching contemporary artist working within the realm of artistic appropriation, Vik Muniz, in his series Pictures of Pigment, presents photographs based upon well-known paintings. Close inspection unravels Muniz’s mystery of The Dream, which is much more than a straight forward photograph of Picasso’s celebrated picture, of the same title, dating from 1932. Muniz painstakingly created his composition by meticulously pilling up layers of brilliant powered pigment onto a flat surface. This process, in which Muniz first creates a unique, ephemeral work, is just one element the artist’s multi-layered methodology, which builds a bridge from the conceptual to the physical. After the composition has been completed, Muniz photographs these fleeting creations. Although the resulting photographic image is the endgame of the artist’s process, it is also the making of the object that reveals the core of Muniz practice. The artist’s philosophy is that seeing is believing, which he strongly feels that stems from his Brazilian background. A fleeting glance of Muniz’s The Dream would trick the viewer into believing that they are viewing a photograph of Picasso’s sensual portrait of his mistress and muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter. A second and slightly longer look will lead us to realise something isn’t quite right, and one may even begin to wonder if it is a photograph of a tapestry. Muniz playfully lures us in as a magician does by pulling a rabbit out of his hat. The Dream disentangles itself from the 1932 painting by revealing the lush and varied landscape of pigments that create the composition, which is quite independent from Picasso’s oil on canvas. As quoted in a New York Times article in October 2010, Muniz has stated: “I’m a product of a military dictatorship. Under a dictatorship, you cannot trust information or dispense it freely because of censorship. So Brazilians become very flexible in the use of metaphors. They learn to communicate with double meanings.”


The Dream, after Picasso from the series Pictures of Pigment

Digital colour coupler print.
243 × 180 cm (95 5/8 × 78 7/8 in).
Signed and dated ‘Vik Muniz 2007’ on a gallery label affixed to the reverse. This work is an artist’s proof from an overall edition of 6 plus 4 artist’s proofs.

£45,000 - 55,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £67,250


14 - 15 April 2011