PARIS, December 13, 2016
Twenty years on from fellow Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten’s first victory on clay in Paris, the honor of designing the poster for Roland-Garros 2017 falls to Vik Muniz. As if in tribute to “Guga” and the heart he famously drew in the clay of the court, this artist/photographer who loves working with materials was keen to put clay center stage.
So he opted to use ground mineral pigments, applying them in fine layers to craft a drawing representing a player in the act of serving. “The poster is a commission, but there are many similarities to several earlier works of mine. When I realized that, I started focusing on the colors, and I had to mix several pigments to finally get the precise shade of the clay. The colors truly are from all over the world, as the pigments come from Africa, Asia, and Australia. And since Roland-Garros is an international tournament, you’ve probably got elements in this clay from every nation represented here,” Vik Muniz explains.
The work that provides the source for the poster was then photographed and enlarged… and then destroyed. Its ephemeral nature is part of its very essence. “I see in this a similarity to the fact that a tennis match, the minute it is over, becomes part of our memory. I think the poster illustrates this analogy, akin to the Tibetan philosophy that requires the monks to cast their sand mandalas into the river. And there is also a parallel with the drag net that sweeps away the marks on the court after every match,” reflects the artist. This is only the second time in the history of the tournament that the poster has been based on a photograph, the first being the 1995 poster by US artist Donald Lipski.
Born in São Paulo en 1961, Brazilian artist Vik Muniz is a master illusionist in materials, a virtuoso of visual deception. He has drawn clouds in the sky over Manhattan, painted portraits of children in sugar and recreated old masters using string and chocolate.
An artist full of surprises, renowned for his ingenious use of a vast range of materials, Vik Muniz painstakingly works materials and pigments into ephemeral creations instantly immortalized by photography, experimenting with unexpected visual and sensory sensations. Each work is the sole example of its kind.
Vik Muniz lives and works between the United States and Brazil. Over the last 25 years, his work has been shown regularly by all the greatest contemporary art museums. Exhibitions of his work in 2016 have included The Hague, Rio de Janeiro and London.