Artist portrait of a branch

Flow Diptych, Part 2 of 2 by Vik Muniz, for the 2019 Ruinart Carte Blanche commission and installed at the Ruinart Art Bar at Frieze London 2019

Brazilian photographer Vik Muniz has responded to Ruinart’s Carte Blanche commission by going back to the roots

“A photograph marks a moment in time,” says Vik Muniz. We sit surrounded by his latest photographic series, ‘Shared Roots’, in the Ruinart champagne bar at the 2019 Frieze London. “One way or another, everything fades and everything ceases to be. Photography is one way for you to hold on a little longer.”

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The Brazilian-born artist is fascinated by the fragile materiality of photography. “Visual technology broke a membrane, and the image became autonomous from any material relationship,” he says. “Our relationship to facts is getting more and more problematic. The idea of information, the idea of representation, is completely disconnected from tangibility, from facts. Psychologically, that has an effect. And, I chose to go in the opposite direction and make things that we have not lost. They require physical presence, they are heavy, even though they’re photographs.” The photographs around us are rooted in this physicality. Muniz used wood and charcoal to create temporary sculptures of hands clutching gnarled vines, captured in overexposed, grainy monochrome. “There is an architecture when you make art,” he says, “I find it quite pyramidal. The base of it has to be optical, haptic, sensory, perceptual. You have to have a physical reaction to it.”

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This article was originally published in Spring 2020 Issue.