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VIK MUNIZ
[b. 1961] Brazilian artist and photographer
Art objects are inanimate sad bits of matter hanging in the dark when no one is looking. The artist only does half the work; the viewer has to come up with the rest, and it is by empowering the viewer that the miracle of art gains its force. - Vik Muniz

I photograph what I paint and I paint what I can photograph. You have to be Man Ray to make good art based on principles. - Vik Muniz

A lot of the time you keep looking for beauty, but it is already there. And if you look with a little bit more intention, you see it. - Vik Muniz

Illusions as bad as mine make people aware of the fallacies of visual information and the pleasure to be derived from such fallacies. - Vik Muniz

My first reaction to finding Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty in a book was, “Wow, what a great photograph!” I could not believe that someone had gone to so much trouble just to end up with a picture. - Vik Muniz

Now that photography is a digital medium, the ghost of painting is coming to haunt it: photography no longer retains a sense of truth. I think that's great, because it frees photography from factuality, the same way photography freed painting from factuality in the mid-nineteenth century. - Vik Muniz

If you find an idea without form, please let me know because I would love to take a picture of it. - Vik Muniz

Whenever I am tired of making photographs of drawings, I make drawings of photographs. - Vik Muniz

A lot of what happens in my work is at the level of recognition. The viewer is in front of something that either is an archetype or an icon, recognized to a point of exhaustion. Images of the Virgin and the baby Jesus say a lot about dress code, how wealth was distributed, how politics worked. People today can bypass the subject matter, because they know it so well. They’re able to see what’s around it. - Vik Muniz

Some people may find it hard to call what I do photography, but I don’t feel myself so distant from the wedding photographer who asks people to smile before he takes a shot. - Vik Muniz

Even though photography was a direct result of the general difficulties people encountered while trying to draw a picture, ironically… very few people have paired the two media with success. - Vik Muniz

As for Happenings, I have been to a few performances and I confess that I get embarrassed and rarely enjoy them. Photographs of such events, however, are always fascinating. - Vik Muniz

Once I thought I could duplicate the dot pattern of a billboard with M&M's. I almost died of nervous exhaustion. Live ants, rubber bands, black beans, chains, electric sparks, magnets, oil, milk—you name it, I’ve tried a lot of things but only succeed with a few. - Vik Muniz

I have failed so much that I now stand on failure itself. It has become my work place and where I harvest my best ideas. - Vik Muniz

Smiling for a camera seems to be embedded in the genetic code—even the blind do it. - Vik Muniz

In photography, the theater of consumption assumes yet another curious form: whenever someone buys a picture, he or she is subliminally buying part of the soul of the picture’s subject. We buy a picture of a thing, just for the sensation of owning a remotely detached and mediated part of that thing. - Vik Muniz

The first century of photography was all about making a decent picture. After that, it was mostly about making something look decent or indecent in a picture. - Vik Muniz

Photography does not reveal the world as a whole, but a carefully edited version of it. It’s not linked to truth in any circumstance, because it’s bound to an opinion, making it more human than mechanical. - Vik Muniz

I hate to say I’m a photographer, because I learned photography as I went along. But I also hate to say I’m a painter, a draftsman, even an artist. I think it’s good when you’re confused about what you are; it means you haven’t defined yourself as an artist yet. - Vik Muniz

Perhaps the first photograph ever taken, Niépce’s view of the rooftops over Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, was a truly pure photograph. The second one he took, he was already comparing nature to the first photograph he had taken. - Vik Muniz

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