Not so long ago, it was relatively easy to wake up overlooking Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong and go to sleep in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge; to travel from Venice to Istanbul in time for dinner. The international network of the art world, in particular, made it easy to slip through time and borders—with the right invitation and the right passport. You may never have been to Basel, Switzerland for the art fairs, but you might certainly feel as though you have, experiencing it exclusively through the spate of other people’s images. Vik Muniz’s series Postcards from Nowhere grapples with how, through photographs, we have come to “see” and understand distant yet iconic sites we may never actually view with our own eyes. “The images we hold in our heads are an assemblage,” notes Muniz. “They are an amalgam of every image of those locations that we have ever seen.” More critically, the series serves as an homage not just to the quasi-obsolete artifact of the picture postcard, but to a way of life that has now been put in sharp relief. Muniz’s images—created out of collaged pieces of vintage postcards from the artist’s personal collection—materialize the experience and longing of travel, triangulating between the traveler, a distant location, and the recipient who, increasingly, remains at home. Volume I presents thirty-two single postcards displaying each of the images in the series. Volume II presents a series of thirty-six postcards that, when assembled, can be viewed as a single, large-scale work of 30 x 40 inches. The process of assembling the larger, single image is akin to the original act of collage—or like that of assembling a mosaic crafted from disparate pieces that have traveled from afar, but when brought together, conjure something that is larger, more complete than any individual element could be on its own.
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