Trash turned into works of art that ended up in museums and galleries. Discover the inspiring work of these artists from different parts of the world.

For centuries, the relationship of humans with nature has been predatory and destructive. Our monstrous production of garbage must be addressed by anyone with social awareness. With these issues in mind, many creative people around the world have taken care of our waste and turned it into art.

The choice of material itself raises questions about our relationship with what we discard and what we want to be as far away from our lives as possible. In this sense, bringing them back to the museum is daring.

We have selected five artists who stand out for their work:

Vik Muniz
The most well-known artist working with garbage might be the Brazilian Vik Muniz, whose success brought his works to the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York. In honor of the documentary “Extraordinary Garbage,” Muniz reconstructed masterpieces of the world canon, such as the Mona Lisa, with peanut butter and jelly. With the remains of a macaroni dish (a typical Venezuelan dish), he mounted the panic face of Medusa in Caravaggio’s famous painting. And with scrap, he created a world map.

The irony is not lost on the audience, who is forced to question the concepts of what sophisticated art is.

Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz

Bordalo II Another giant of trash art is the Portuguese artist Bordalo II, who focuses on building enormous sculptures made of junk. He places the streets of cities with incredible animals made from waste, challenging the division between nature and urban space.

His massive works cause a tremendous visual impact and make us question the amount of nature we are replacing with trash.

Bordalo II

Sayaka Ganz, the Japanese sculptor, is also interested in creating animals with technological trash. Her works are highly detailed and have a nearly minimalist sophistication.

They seem to come from a cyborg future in which nature and technology have fully merged.

Sayaka Ganz

Erika Iris The artistic work of this North American from Chicago refers to Vik Muniz’s garbage paintings, drawing famous faces from waste.

Her use of intense black reminds of stencil urban art.
Erika Iris

Alejandro Durán

Mexican Duran’s focus is more activist and his work is a denunciation against the abuse of the virgin lands of the Caribbean.

Using photography and installation, his work is a cry for help that seeks to involve the viewer.

Alejandro Durán