Inside the wonderful world of Vik Muniz

Updated: Nov 5, 2018

Darryan Miller | Contributing Writer

Photo by Ellison Smith

Artist and photographer, Vik Muniz explores the extent to which mediums can go. He manipulates the likes of chocolate, trash and diamonds to form larger pictures in exhibit "Vik Muniz: Photography and the Rebirth of Wonder."

The exhibit, being featured at The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, encapsulates a collection of Muniz’s different works including political figures, photography and Hollywood stars taking the viewer on a mesmerizing walkthrough. Using unconventional mediums Muniz recreates photographs and art by putting his own spin on things and challenging the viewer’s perspective.

Muniz’s attention to detail is impeccable as not a coffee bean, sand grain or toy is out of place. In fact, the meticulous detail is what is most interesting about the exhibit. One might recognize Marxist revolutionary, "Che Guevara" and how Muniz depicts him with black beans or the famous "Mona Lisa" painting and how she’s depicted through a PB&J spread.

Popular pieces are recreated from Muniz’s vision and capture a childlike wonder about them. "Vik Muniz: Photography and the Rebirth of Wonder" expresses the ways in which art has never black and white. Muniz’s point is that many different textures and materials can work together in a symbiotic way to project a grander image.

The "Pictures of Garbage" series uses trash to make an environmental and political statement. The series displays trash and how much humans contribute to it. While both alarmingly shocking and equally beautiful, the message behind each piece is profound and portrays humanity in a very telling light.

In the "Pictures of Diamonds" series Muniz delineates the likes of old-timey movie stars such as Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. The series captivates Hollywood glamour and each individual star’s shine.

The "Monad" series uses tiny toy soldiers to create images in that of a horse, an Indian chief and a soldier. With a few pieces from each different collection such as the "Pictures of Chocolate" and "Pictures of Ink" series Muniz is inspired by German photographer Hans Namuth, creating "Action Photo, After Hans Namuth" made of chocolate. Muniz also recreates photography pieces such as Dorothea Lange’s "Migrant Mother," made of ink.

Though each series may be different because of the varying types of material and matter, they allow the viewer to step away from traditional art and into Muniz’s limitless perspective.

The creative element of Vik Muniz’s "Photography and the Rebirth of Wonder" forces you to feel nostalgic. Each art piece is designed to be looked at up close and personal to understand the art inside of art concept that Muniz displays.

Photo by Ellison Smith

There’s beauty in the mundane, the ordinary, in waste and in food toppings, and there’s a deeper meaning in all. Whether you’re submerged in the memory of childhood, or you’ve traveled back in time to see movie stars shine, Muniz captures the rebirth of wonder by hitting very close to home.

There’s something for everyone in this exhibit as it expands the mind, opens the heart and awakens a sense of wonder. To view this exhibit from the perspective of the artist is viewing it through the collectivity of humanity.