Pictures of Paper
Rena Branstein Gallery
San Francisco, CA
October 16 – November 29, 2008
During October and November, Rena Bransten Gallery will present “Vik Muniz: Paper Trails” an exhibition of new photographs by Vik Muniz from two new series, Pictures of Paper and Gordian Puzzles.
In his Pictures of Paper series, famous black and white photographs are re-created using shreds of paper in all tones of the gray scale. Their historical contenet suggests an immutable reality but the materials Muniz collages together suggest the possiblity of “shades of gray” within any representation. Lewis Hine’s millworkers, Dorothea Lange’s chain gang boss, and August Sander’s shoemaker become richer in nuance when layers of paper remind viewers of the evolving social history they represent. Besides documentary photographs, Muniz also reframes images that have pushed and re-defined the photo medium toward its acceptance as a two dimensional art form. The layers and placement of paper depicting Hein Gorny’s rows of gentlemen’s dress collars, Edward Weston’s pepper, and a Cindy Sherman film still present not only the art object or concept, but also reveal an aesthetic sensitivity in the handling of materials and composition.
In the Gordian Puzzles, hundreds of single puzzle pieces are laid out, layered, and rotated by degrees to fit other pieces to recreate the subject paintings that are themselves puzzling. These colorful pieces depict idealized cities of architectural splendors, mythical civilizations, centers of learning, and nether regions – symbolizing the beliefs, theorectical positions, and visions of artists such as Breugal, Bosch, and Panini. While no site, building, or place is factual – their reality is concretized by the paintings, reiterating Vik’s recurring theme – seeing is believing. This permits a certain latitude between what is and what is not. While you can believe your eyes – myths and visions cannot be proven, but they can be reframed and manipulated – replacing one enigma with another.
Vik Muniz was born in 1961 in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Sao Paolo. His work is included in current and upcoming exhibtions at the Guangzhou Triennial in China, the Gana Art Gallery in Seoul Korea, and the Tokyo Wonder Site in Japan.
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