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  • Writer's pictureZoltan Alexander


Shared Roots” … an ode to the creative powers of nature and mankind. Maison Ruinart presents Brazilian artist, photographer Vik Muniz at Palais Brongniart, Paris.


“The more difficult the path, the better the result"

Vik Muniz


Review by Zoltan Alexander


"Shared Roots" by Vik Muniz / © video by Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA

Hidden in the 2nd district at the Palais Brongniart, the 19th-century former stock exchange, the Brazilian artist, photographer Vik Muniz presented his latest photographic works in collaboration with the champagne house Ruinart.

Muniz initially was a sculptor and through the photographic representation of his work he grew to photography. Muniz perfectly incorporates everyday objects, cars, ashes, dust, chocolate, garbage dumps and diamonds to create bold, large-scale imagery, deriving from pop culture and art history. Muniz often gets his inspiration from postmodernists and admits that he does not believe in originals, rather in individuality. He often destroys the originals of his work and only the photo remains. Muniz's distinctive practice explores the instability that exists between craft and reproduction, between art and popular culture.

When I take a photograph, I intuitively search for a vantage point that would make the image identical to the ones in my head before I would make the picture". Vik Muniz

In 2008, he undertook a project in Brazil, photographing the “catadores”, the trash-pickers, as figures from emblematic paintings, such as Jacques-Louis David's Neoclassical “Death of Marat”, then in 2010 documented it in the film “Waste Land”.

Maison Ruinart / "Flow Diptych - Part II." by Vik Muniz / Photo © Courtesy of Maison Ruinart

The Maison Ruinart, founded in 1729, has a long commitment to art by commissioning artists since 1896 when they created their first artwork by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, in a context where French philosophy and culture had great influence, shining like a beacon.

Each year Maison Ruinart commissions the world’s finest contemporary artists, giving them carte blanche, offering them a residency in Reims to pay tribute to their heritage. In 2019, the Brazilian Vik Muniz was chosen to deliver his vision of the terroir. His collaboration started with his artist residency in Reims. To create his series, following the harvest in 2018, he spent countless hours at Sillery, the long-standing vineyard of Maison Ruinart.

Maison Ruinart / "Flow Hands" by Vik Muniz / hand of the cellar master of Ruinart, Frédéric Panaïotis / Photo © Courtesy of Maison Ruinart

To launch the exhibition Muniz set up a large-scale, mirrored video installation with a time-lapse film giving an insight into the creative project. A giant ampelographic image of a plant composed of hundreds of leaves and branches from the Sillery vineyard. In addition, a young dancer of the Étoile du Ballet de Opéra National de Paris, Germain Louvet was invited to perform.

Germain Louvet / Photo © Courtesy of Maison Ruinart

The impressive and complex series of Muniz is exceptional; it is set out to capture the relationship between humans and nature. Muniz created a series of work inspired by the idea of flow, based on large pieces of blackened wood and charcoal. He also brought new life to leaves of an emblematic grape mixed with other natural elements. The picture “Flow Hands” was featuring the actual hands of the cellar master of Ruinart, Frédéric Panaïotis.

Muniz says, he believes that “the more difficult the path, the better the result”. He defines himself as an “illusionist”.

"Shared Roots" time-laps video by Vik Muniz / © video by Maison Ruinart

Reims, France




"Le Coffret" installation by Vik Muniz x Ruinart

/ Photo © Courtesy of Maison Ruinart

VIK MUNIZ "Shared Roots"

Palais Brongniart Place de la Bourse, 75002 Paris, France

/ 14-15 March 2019 / Tickets: Invitation only



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