Vik Muniz - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Saturday, June 28, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Donated by the artist

  • Catalogue Essay

    “This painting was a gift to a tearful nation and our tears are not dangerous” Charles Baudelaire, on David’s Marat, 1846. Vik Muniz remake of Jacques – Louis David’s The Death of Marat is the main installment of his ongoing project in collaboration with the residents of Jardim Gramacho, home of Latin America’s largest garbage dump. In this series entitled Pictures of Garbage, Muniz has worked with a group of laborers who live from scavenging recyclables in creating large-scale portraits using the material that is most familiar to them. After being photographed by Muniz, the workers participated in the confection of their own portraits inspired by works of well renowned painters such as David, Millet and Guercino. Although most of the works in this series depict work scenes, here Muniz tackles the subtleties of his own trade as the Sebastião- Marat portrait symbolizes the role of the intellectual and political activist as a tragic victim of the environment he helps to create. This is the only copy of an edition of two made available by the artist and the entire proceeds of its sale will benefit ACAMJ (Garbage pickers association of Jardim Gramacho) in the process of transition facing the imminent closing of the dump, an event that will affect 5.000 recycling workers and their families who derive their livelihood exclusively fromthe facility. Since the mid-1990s, Brazilian artist Vik Muniz has earned an international reputation for the photographic pieces he creates out of everyday materials. These images, inspired by current events, art history or famous figures, are familiar yet enigmatic. Initially taking the form of witty visual statements, his works question the way visual information is constructed, presented and then perceived by the viewer. His work in Jardim Gramacho will be the theme of the upcoming documentary Art is Garbage due to be released in 2009. Muniz is also the guest curator of the next “Artist Choice” exhibitionopening in December 2008 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.



Marat (Sebastiao) Pictures of Garbage

Digital C print.
Unframed: 231.2 x 180.4 cm. (91 x 71 in). Framed: 238.5 x 188.7 cm. (93 7/8 x 74 1/4 in.
Signed 'Vik Muniz' on a label adhered to the reverse.

£30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £34,850

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2008, 5pm