VIK MUNIZ: Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins

at Palazzo Cini, Campo San Vio, Dorsoduro 864, Venice

Opening Reception: Tuesday, 9 May, 6-8pm

21 April - 24 July 2017


Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins presents photographs and sculpture by the acclaimed contemporary artist Vik Muniz and is the result of his personal and direct experience of the Venetian painting tradition. For Muniz, this relationship with Italian art is enduring, as evidenced by his 2002 series Piranesi Prisons, which was inspired by the infamous Carceri d’invenzione by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, which forms an integral part of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini collection.

In part, the stimulus for this new series came from the Fondazione Cini itself and more specifically, Muniz’s visit to the exhibition Rediscovered Masterpieces of the Vittorio Cini Collection at Palazzo Cini in 2016. As Muniz notes, “the thing that struck me was the very unusual Canaletto that I mistook for a Guardi in the Settecento section of the show. The capriccio-like landscape had visible brushwork bravado and a diagrammatic rather than textural composition…it was a painting that depicted Venice in a completely different way than his other works. I guess that was the beginning of my decision to focus the exhibition on works with a sense of history, time – works depicting ruins.”

The seemingly enigmatic title of Afterglow in fact alludes to this central theme of ruins, as explained by Muniz himself: "Afterglow is the scattering of red sunlight on atmospheric particles that causes the sky to turn bright pink after the sun goes down or before it rises. It is like a material memory of its bright period, a residue, a lingering reminiscence. Ruins are the afterglow of brilliant civilizations, something that while documenting a fact also attests to its extinction.”

Thus began Muniz’s new series, Afterglow; inspired by the Italian capriccio, the Venetian tradition and masterful paintings by artists from the Fondazione Giorgio Cini collection such as Francesco Guardi, Dosso Dossi and Canaletto. Works by artists such as Caspar David Friedrich and Giovanni Paolo Panini also became the objects of study and interpretation by an artist who is known for his re-creations of iconic and historically significant paintings.

These extraordinarily bold large-scale colour photographs, displayed alongside a unique handmade sculpture made of Murano glass and produced at Berengo Studio 1989, are representative of the artist’s return to the roots of his inspiration: the relationship between Vik Muniz and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, with its priceless collection of ancient art which proves able to inspire even the most irreverent contemporary artist.

The artist will be present at the opening and a catalogue will be produced with an essay by Luca Massimo Barbero.

March 27, 2017