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PRINT September 1997

SWEET ILLUSION: VIK MUNIZ

VIK MUNIZ’S SIGMUND, 1997, is a five-by-four-foot color photograph of a drawing made with chocolate syrup on a five-by-four-inch piece of white plastic. Muniz used a view camera mounted on a copy stand to take the photograph, a straight pin to draw the portrait, and Bosco brand syrup as his medium. When he finished, he licked the plastic clean.

Such dislocations of scale, medium, and aesthetic expectation are a source of pleasure to this thirty five-year-old, Brazilian-born, New York-based polymath; more to the point, they’re his artistic stock-in trade. Muniz calls himself a “low-tech illusionist”—“more in the tradition of Ricky Jay than Siegfried and Roy”—and his legerdemain has the virtue of being both witty and challenging. Photography, with its claims to verisimilitude, plays a large part in the illusions he creates, but the more traditional mediums of drawing and sculpture are essential

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