For almost 4 a long time, the artist and photographer Vik Muniz, 58, has been accumulating postcards. He sends some to family members and mates, however typically he sends them to himself to see which can arrive dwelling first: the postcard or him. However lots of his postcards find yourself snipped into little items and rearranged to create collage-like postcards of a number of the world’s most well-known locations.
“I needed to make ‘someplace’ out of 1000’s of little ‘nowheres,’” he mentioned in a phone interview from Salvador, Brazil, just lately. “Numerous what occurs with my work has to do with how the skin world conforms with the picture you have already got in your head.”
Mr. Muniz’s postcards of Paris, New York, Venice, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, the Taj Mahal and extra are the main target of “Postcards from Nowhere,” a e book scheduled to be printed by Aperture, the pictures basis and writer, in November.
To create a postcard, Mr. Muniz begins by desirous about a metropolis — his reminiscences of it, the markers that make it acquainted, just like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Piccadilly Circus in London or the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. These locations are among the many first issues most vacationers envision once they consider Paris, London or Agra.
“The title, a number of the addresses, a few narratives make a risky amalgam of indicators in my head that imply ‘Paris’ to me, and create a framework that I fill with no matter constructing, cobble, lamplight, baguette and tree I carry in my visible stock,” he mentioned. “I find yourself picturing one thing that’s like Paris.”
After deciding on a picture mentally, Mr. Muniz begins the seek for a postcard in his assortment that matches the picture in his thoughts. Typically he already has the postcard, different instances he has to purchase it.
As soon as he has the fitting picture, he makes a replica of it. He makes use of that picture as a reference for the brand new postcard he’s creating. Then he takes “heaps and much and much” of postcards and cuts them into 1000’s of small items and appears on the reference copy whereas piecing collectively the cut-up fragments, as if he have been placing collectively the items of a puzzle or a mosaic. (He likes to make clouds from the textual content on the playing cards’ reverse sides.)
As soon as this picture is full, Mr. Muniz images it in excessive decision or scans it, relying on the picture, and enlarges it, specializing in bringing each element to life. The ultimate postcards differ in dimension, however they often are shut to six ft by 8 ft.
“I take into consideration the connection between the components and the entire,” he mentioned. “If I make the picture too massive, I’ll have a drawing that’s completed, however then you definately don’t see the little components. I work the components till they match and on this manner I’m a mosaic artist.”
Some postcards have been simpler to convey to life than others, Mr. Muniz mentioned. He mentioned that he struggled to create New York Metropolis, for instance, as a result of he couldn’t fairly choose a picture of town the place he’d spent most of his grownup life. His view of town contains the Twin Towers of the World Commerce Middle.
When he began the collection, every card took a couple of weeks to finish, however by the point he was closing out the mission, some have been taking only a few days to create.
Mr. Muniz mentioned he hopes that individuals join with the photographs and might really feel like they’re, as soon as once more, in a spot they’ve been earlier than.
“Once you strategy it you are feeling such as you’re truly there,” he mentioned. “Every half feels actual and it has an identification. You’re a picture that’s very distracting as a result of it’s made out of issues which can be on the market, they’ve nearly a bodily presence.”
Photographs of all of the collages that seem on this article are included in “Postcards from Nowhere, Vol. I” (Aperture, 2020).
Native New Yorker. Travel addict. Hardcore thinker. Analyst. Pop culture fanatic. I live in Queens with my wife Linda and our dog Clemenza.