© Vik Muniz/VAGA at ARS, NY/JASPAR, Tokyo 2021 G2492

Vik Muniz
Wanderer above The Sea of Media, after Caspar David Friedrich (Pictures of Magazines 2)
2011
240.4 x 190.0 cm
digital c-print

Vik Muniz was born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1961. He explores the relationship between materials and images, incorporating allusions to masterpieces of the past and preexisting images. On a superficial level, they are easily recognizable, and his ways of expression are at times misconstrued as simplistic. However, his works are enfolded in many layers of thought that derive from his extensive research into the object. They create a realm which purposefully baffles the viewer’s vision and comprehension, interpretation and recognition.

This painting is based on “Wander above the Sea of Fog” by Casper David Friedrich, a representative figure in 18th-19thcentury Romanticism. Muniz constructed the image as a collage using fragments of paper from magazines, then he took a photograph of it with a camera and enlarged it in print. The scene spreads out before our eyes — bluegrey tones coloring the distant peaks, the sea of fog obscuring the mountains below. The wanderer donning the frock coat stands high on the summit in the foreground, with an air of dignity and even sublimity.

The title of this piece is “Wanderer Above the Sea of Media.” In our present society, there is a constant, excessive supply of magazines, and images within those magazines are also consumed in large quantities. If we view this work as an analogy of the world today, the figure of the wanderer could represent ourselves, standing still before the vast amount of information that overflows infinitely from the Internet. At the same time, it could resemble the figure of a leader or an entrepreneur who shows people the way forward with their own vision of the future.

(Commentary:Masashi Shiobara / Translation:Yui Kajita)