Interviews and Essays on Photography
by Vik Muniz
EP 14: In NATURA PICTRIX, VIK MUNIZ expounds upon the history of photography, as well as upon its most contemporary discourses, asking such questions as “How will the way we look at photographs change? How can a photograph be treated as a reliable picture of reality? And how will our memory of the past, which is so often buttressed by photographic images, be affected.” But much of what he has to say is also about art and life, in general: “The subject of art is the study of the mechanisms responsible for conveying reality, and not the idea of reality itself. Only after you have emptied art of this responsibility can you actually make art that is ‘about’ something.”
Like Muniz’s own work, Natura Pictrix: Interviews and Essays on Photography, can be used as “a critical tool to expose the photography’s illusion of reality.” He says: I have neither the interest nor the means to produce illusions that expand the concept of what an illusion is — George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are doing that for us. My area of interest is in the opposite end of the spectrum: I want to make the worst possible illusion that will still fool the eyes of the average person. Something so rudimentary and simple that the viewer will think, ‘I don’t believe what I’m seeing, I can’t be seeing this, my mind is too sophisticated to fall for something as silly as this.’ Illusions as bad as mine make people aware of the fallacies of visual information and the pleasure to be derived from such fallacies. These illusions are made to reveal the architecture of our concept of truth. They are meta-illusions.”
VIK MUNIZ has had one-person museum exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, New York, Centre de la Photographie, Paris, Whitney Museum of American Art (NY), Museu de Arte Moderna (Rio de Janeiro), Fondació Juan Miró (Barcelona), Museum of Contemporary Art (Rome), and the Menil Collection (Houston), among many others. He was the co-founder of Blind Spot magazine. A monograph about his work, Seeing is Believing, was published in 1998. NATURA PICTRIX: INTERVIEWS AND ESSAYS ON PHOTOGRAPHY is the first collection of his writings.
First edition paperback, November 2003, 112 pp., sewn, bound, and printed in Italy, with a two-color cover, and a black and white photograph of the author on the frontispiece.