Ron Mueck draws upon memories, reveries, and everyday experience as he portrays his subjects with extraordinary compassion. What makes his sculptures exceptional is the manner in which he balances realism with the unreal. Frequently spending more than a year conceiving and making each figure, Mueck captures every feature with astonishing detail. The naturalism of his work, however, is undercut by his calculated play with scale: Some figures fill a gallery, whereas others stand no more than three feet high.
“I never made life-size figures because it never seemed to be interesting,” Mueck explained in a rare interview in 2003. “We meet life-size people every day. [Altering the scale] makes you take notice in a way that you wouldn’t do with something that’s just normal.”
The son of German émigrés, Mueck was born in Australia in 1958. After working in film and television in the United States and London, he shifted his focus to the fine arts in the mid-1990s. The 13 sculptures assembled in this exhibition—about a third of Mueck’s entire production—encapsulate the arc of his career from 1999 to 2013. Often caught in moments of silent communication or slumber, these figures illustrate the artist’s ongoing investigation of the cycle of life, from the first moment of consciousness, to young love, to the various stages of maturity and aging, and ultimately to oblivion.
Contemporary art often explores powerful issues. Parents may wish to view these works of art with, or in advance of, visiting with children.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, Ron Mueck showcases a distinctive body of work that has given a fresh impulse to modern sculpture.
The stunning and carefully crafted sculpture of Australian artist Ron Mueck has catapulted him into the first rank of the contemporary art world. This book is a record of his recent exhibition at the Fondation Cartier in Paris, for which he created an ensemble of new sculptures, two of which are of gargantuan scale.
Mueck explores reality's ambiguous relationship with artifice. Brilliantly employing the strategies of imitation and illusion, he creates figures that express the contradictions between the real world and the world of the imaginary. His lifelike figures with their veins, wrinkles, sagging skin, and moles have been crafted to such perfection that the remarkably convincing result is deeply disturbing. 90 color illustrations.