Trompe l’Oeil and Vik Muniz’s Verso Series: The Back of the Canvas as an Original Copy




Suiter, Greta Kuriger

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In much of his work Vik Muniz recreates well known images in sculptural form using unexpected materials such as diamonds, sugar, and garbage. He then photographs the pieces and presents the photograph as his final work. Over the course of six years, from 2002 to 2008, Muniz created Verso, a sculpture series that reverses his usual artistic process. With Verso, Muniz recreated the backs of iconic works of art instead of the widely circulated images found on the front. He took the project a step further by not just photographing the back of a work of art but by hiring artisans to meticulously recreate the backs in three dimensions. This thesis argues that the sculptural imitation of a photograph complicates and updates the tradition of trompe l’oeil. This theme is explored through an investigation of the history of the back of the canvas in trompe l’oeil painting and its relationship to contemporary art as evidenced in the Verso series.



Trompe l'oeil, Copies, Sculpture, Painting, Dutch art