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First ever showing of photos by Vik Muniz inspired by old master paintings on view in Venice
Temple of Juno in Agrigento after Caspar David Friederich BURNED CROP, © Vik Muniz (2017). Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts, London.

VENICE.- Vik Muniz’s latest project has been specially created for the Palazzo Cini Gallery as a homage to masterpieces in the Cini Collection

The 2017 exhibition season at the Palazzo Cini Gallery at San Vio got underway with a contemporary art show. From 21 April to 24 July, the second-floor rooms hosts Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins, an exhibition by the renowned photographer Vik Muniz. A homage to Venice that grew out of discussions with the curator Luca Massimo Barbero, the Director of the Institute of Art History at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, the show includes some new photos inspired by great artists in the Cini Collection, such as Francesco Guardi, Dosso Dossi and Canaletto, a series dedicated to Piranesi’s Carceri d’invenzione and a very striking glass sculpture.

Having made some interesting discoveries on several visits to the exhibition Rediscovered Masterpieces from the Vittorio Cini Collection, installed on the second floor of the Gallery in 2016, Vik Muniz is now showing Afterglow: Pictures of Ruins in the same venue. His exhibition has been inspired by his visits and interaction with Luca Massimo Barbero. Intrigued by the architectural capriccio and the Venetian tradition of painting, here the Brazilian artist shows his recent series Afterglow for the first time, some completely new works with a remarkable vivid colour range, created from his impressions of the paintings in the Vittorio Cini collection. In this way the exhibition establishes an imaginary dialogue with the works permanently on view in the Gallery.

An architectural capriccio (lit. caprice), or painted architectural fantasy, brings together real and imaginary buildings, ruins and a variety of other elements combined in an inventive, fantastic way. In 17th- and 18th-century Italian painting it became a widely practice, greatly admired popular genre. Muniz revisits the theme in a contemporary key by simulating the brushstrokes of the old masters’ paintings using cuttings of illustrations from art books. He carefully selects not only the colour values but also the images: glued together they produce the tactile, physical effect of an impastoed surface. In the wake of 17th- and 18th-century artists, Muniz thus creatively recombines the various elements to construct new images, which intrigue the viewer through an interplay of allusions and citations.

The exhibition also includes an original glass sculpture as a homage to the lagoon city: a ruby-coloured giant-scale reproduction of an 18th-century Venetian wine glass, decorated with gold leaf. Made at the Berengo Studio 1989 on Murano, the sculpture is the result of using various glass-making techniques. Lastly, Muniz shows again a series dedicated to Piranesi’s Carceri d’invenzione (Imaginary Prisons) dating from 2002, which is accompanied by an original Piranesi print belonging to the Fondazione Giorgio Cini.

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