Must see: Ron Mueck
Ron Mueck (1958-) is an Australian-born hyper-realist sculptor who now works in the United Kingdom. His latest exhibition displays 11 of his key works.
Mueck’s sculptures attempt to reproduce the minute detail of the human body, but play with scale to produce disconcertingly jarring visual images. His characters are often naked and suspended in states of self-consciousness, introspection or deep contemplation. Viewing them almost breeds embarrassment or empathy at the vulnerability of the individual.
The technical skill in producing such detailed works is impressive. The head, with it’s fine strands of hair and small patches of blood on A Girl (an oversized newborn baby, complete with remains of an umbilical cord) has to be seen to be believed, because aside from the gigantic scale, looks entirely real.
Of course, not everyone likes Mueck’s work. Guardian columnist Jonathan Jones described his works in 2006 as “blank, empty and brainless” and Mueck’s admirers as people who needed to get out more. Naturally, others disagree, including myself.
One of my favourite sculptures was Old Woman in Bed (2000), which I consider the most evocative of Mueck’s works.
Ron Mueck’s exhibition is showing at the National Gallery of Victoria until 18 April 2010. Entry for adults is $15.