VIK MUNIZ, « AFTERGLOW: PICTURES OF RUINS », PALAZZO CINI VENISE

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Vik Muniz – Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins – Palazzo Cini Venezia – 21 April – 15 November 2017

On 21 April 2017 Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins will be unveiled. Vik Muniz’s latest project has been specially created for the Palazzo Cini Gallery as a homage to masterpieces in the Cini Collection

The 2017 the exhibition season at the Palazzo Cini Gallery at San Vio will get underway with a contemporary art show. From 21 April to 24 July, the second-floor rooms will host Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins, an exhibition by the renowned photographer Vik Muniz. A homage to Venice that grew out of discussions with the curator Luca Massimo Barbero, the Director of the Institute of Art History at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, the show includes some new photos inspired by great artists in the Cini Collection, such as Francesco Guardi, Dosso Dossi and Canaletto, as well as a very striking glass sculpture.

Having made some interesting discoveries on several visits to the exhibition Rediscovered Masterpieces from the Vittorio Cini Collection, installed on the second floor of the Gallery in 2016, Vik Muniz will now be showing Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins in the same venue. His exhibition has been inspired by his visits and interaction with Luca Massimo Barbero. Intrigued by the architectural capriccio and the Venetian tradition of painting, here the Brazilian artist shows his recent series Afterglow for the first time, some completely new works with a remarkable vivid colour range, created from his impressions of the paintings in the Vittorio Cini collection. In this way the exhibition will establish an imaginary dialogue with the works permanently on view in the Gallery.

An architectural capriccio (lit. caprice), or painted architectural fantasy, brings together real and imaginary buildings, ruins and a variety of other elements combined in an inventive, fantastic way. In 17th- and 18th-century Italian painting it became a widely practice, greatly admired popular genre. Muniz revisits the theme in a contemporary key by simulating the brushstrokes of the old masters’ paintings using cuttings of illustrations from art books. He carefully selects not only the colour values but also the images: glued together they produce the tactile, physical effect of an impastoed surface. In the wake of 17th- and 18th-century artists, Muniz thus creatively recombines the various elements to construct new images, which intrigue the viewer through an interplay of allusions and citations.

The exhibition will also include an original glass sculpture as a homage to the lagoon city: a ruby-coloured giant-scale reproduction of an 18th-century Venetian wine glass, decorated with gold leaf. Made at the Berengo Studio 1989 on Murano, the sculpture is the result of using various glass-making techniques.

Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins will open the 2017 season at the Palazzo Cini Gallery at San Vio, “a remarkable place, conspicuously concealed,” as the Director of the Institute of Art History, Luca Massimo Barbero is fond of describing the building. Situated between the Gallerie dell’Accademia, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Punta della Dogana, the palazzo houses masterpieces by Giotto, Guariento, Botticelli, Filippo Lippi, Piero di Cosimo and Dosso Dossi. When the Gallery reopened to the public in 2014, the Institute of Art History launched a fresh series of studies on the works preserved in it, resulting in the publication of a new catalogue entitled La Galleria di Palazzo Cini, which will be officially presented on 29 May.

Vik Muniz was born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1961. He currently divides his time between New York and Rio de Janeiro. He has held exhibitions in major venues, such as the International Center of Photography, New York, the Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, the Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, the Menil Collection, Houston, the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome, and the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Dublin. His works are on show in many collections, such as those of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Tate Gallery, London, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In 2001 Muniz represented his country in the Brazilian Pavilion at the 49th Venice Biennale. He is the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary entitled Waste Land (2010). The film tells the story of the artist’s collaboration with a group of catadores (people who survive by collecting and recycling garbage) in the Jardim Gramacho area of Duque de Caxias, a city to the north of Rio de Janeiro and the site of one of the largest landfill rubbish dumps in the world. Muniz worked for three years with the catadores, using recycled waste that they gathered to create monumental portraits of these social outcasts, whose dignity and desperation are highlighting by alluding to paintings by old masters. Muniz was also appointed a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for his work in favour of education and social development, and especially for his involvement with the catadores.

Image: Vik Muniz -Fantasy Landscape with Ruins and Figures after Canaletto, © Vik Muniz (2017). Courtesy of Ben Brown Fine Arts, London

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