I’ve heard people talk about the Ron Mueck sculptures as creepy, disturbing or grotesque. And I was secretly looking forward to a bit of that freaky factor. But when I saw the sculptures in the flesh, the words that came to me were not the ones I imagined – serene, peaceful, still.
And the other thing that struck me was a sense of history – both in terms of the personal and human (literally from the cradle to the grave), and the history of art. These were figures you could imagine in Renaissance art – the pregnant woman with her ecstatic face could easily be a Madonna. The little old lady, tiny in her bed was like a miniature Dutch painting. And Dead Dad has all the still grandeur of Jesus laid out in the tomb.
It’s unexpectedly beautiful.
I didn’t find a mysterious bottle labeled, “Drink Me” to make me extraordinarily small (that’s me pictured next to Ron Mueck’s sculpture, In Bed). Nor did I eat any cake that made me grow to great heights (see picture below). I attended the sneak peek of Ron Mueck’s exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery. Wow!
Many people initially respond to Mueck’s works with: how lifelike! That has to be the first reaction. The lifelikeness smacks you in the face. The skin is so real you would expect it to be warm and supple to touch. But it’s not. It’s hard and room temperature. (I didn’t touch the artwork! A small resin sample is available to provide this tactile experience.) Pimples, goose-flesh, veins, folds in the hands and feet… It’s all there. The ability to so absolutely render the human form is a tremendous skill, a skill Mueck refined in his past life as creator of photo-realistic props and animatronics. His craftsmanship is impeccable.
But how does a work of extraordinary craftsmanship transcend craftmanship to become “art?” Continue reading
Imagine my elation – a trained figurative sculpture artist – when handed an invitation to the sneak preview of Ron Mueck’s exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery! I’ll be attending this Friday, before the show officially opens.
Believing lifesize sculpture is uninteresting because everyone encounters lifesize people everyday, Mueck plays with scale while capturing minute details of the human body. I’m anticipating an overwhelming sensory experience when faced with thirteen of Mueck’s hyper-realisitc sculptures! Some monumental, others miniscule.
As one of the first people into the show, I’ll be sure to post my impressions. Watch this space!
In the meantime, why not read about Ron Mueck or brush up on your realist art and artists knowledge?