Ben Brown Fine Arts has announced its first solo exhibition in London with internationally acclaimed artist, Vik Muniz. The exhibition debuts Muniz’s most recent series, “Metachromes”, as well as brand new works from his iconic Pictures of Pigment series.
Muniz is renowned for his ingenious employment of a wide range of materials, including dust, sugar, chocolate, diamonds, caviar, toys, paper hole-punches, junk, dry pigment and magazine shreds, to reconstruct images that tap into the viewer’s subconscious visual repository and beg for further investigation. As Muniz notes, “Sometimes we want to know how things are made. Sometimes we don’t.” Muniz’s Metachromes works are exceptionally rich in allusion – they challenge the issue of materiality by leaving the medium (pastel sticks) literally embedded in the work; and the resulting photographs become not just images of something, but works about paint, about creating art and about color itself.
Muniz’s Metachromes are constructed of sticks, crumbs and traces of pastels. With these he recreates masterpieces ranging from those of Turner and the Impressionists who were pushing the limits of the brilliant new hues available to them (A Disaster at Sea aka The Wreck of the Amphitrite, after William Turner, Flowers, after Vincent van Gogh, Still Life with Begonias, after Paul Cézanne and Flowers, after Odilon Redon II, all 2016) to the immense oil and acrylic expanses of Abstract Expressionist painters (Double Scramble, after Frank Stella and No. 3/No. 13, after Mark Rothko, both 2016) where the use and choice of color in paint was paramount. While color was a key preoccupation for these artists, Muniz refocuses attention on the painting’s materials, compelling the viewer to consider the basis of its making and coloring.
Muniz sees his Metachromes series as a continuation of his earlier Pictures of Pigment series, in which color itself became the subject. In this exhibition Muniz returns to Pictures of Pigment with Monochrome, Pink-Blue-Gold, after Yves Klein (2016), an homage to Klein’s celebration of raw, synthetic pigment. The impermanence of materials and composition is present in many of Muniz’s images, but the issue is brought into sharp focus by his use here of colored powders, calling to mind Buddhist sand mandalas. And when color itself becomes the subject, we are forced to consider the technologies of photography and to remember their compromises and imperfections.
- Vik Muniz, Metachromes, 2016
- Vik Muniz, Metachrome (Flowers, after Odilon Redon I), 2016