Ron Mueck – NSFW

Christchurch art gallery are exhibiting some sculptures by Australian artist Ron Mueck. Article contains nudity.

Ron Mueck used to work in the movie industry doing special effects including working on films like Labyrinth , he transitioned to fine art in 1996 and shot to fame with his sculpture ‘Dead Dad’ shown at the Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy, since then he’s been making incredibly realistic yet off scale sculptures. The exhibition in Christchurch is a real treat to walk round, if you’re in Christchurch at any point its well worth a visit.

Luckily cameras are allowed so long as flash isn’t used. I had my 7D and 17-55f2.8IS with me and shot at f2.8 between ISO 800 and 1600, trying to expose to the right when possible to minimise noise.

Appropriately the first sculpture you see is ‘Dead Dad’. This is smaller than life size (3ft) and striking in its realism, as they say diminished in death.

Dead Dad

I’ve been informed the colouring is quite accurate for a corpse..

Next up is Mask II from 2001. Much larger than life and revealing an empty space behind the face.

Mask II

Mask II

‘Pregnant Woman’ is a 2.5 meter tall imposing statue – eyes closed for your benefit apparently. As part of the exhibit there is a video of  the making of this piece, quite a lengthy and involved process as you could imagine.

Pregnant Woman

In keeping with Muecks sense of scale we move onto ‘A Girl’ – a very large (8m) just born baby girl. Its quite an imposing sight, with blood on her that looks wet and fresh…

A Girl

A Girl

‘Youth’ is a ~1ft high South African teenager with a belly wound.

Youth

Next to ‘Youth’ is a full size rowing boat occupied by a man, imaginatively titled ‘Man in a boat’, I know I shouldn’t, my picture titles are no better.. Ever felt your models are a bit inanimate?

Man in a Boat

Then you come to a room housing one large sculpture of a bearded, slightly reticent bearded gentleman sans clothes. Titled ‘Wild Man’ , sculpted in 2005. This had to be my personal favorite. The tense leaning back pose and the slightly crazy look in his eyes and you have to wonder whats happening to him.

Wild Man

Wild Man

‘Woman with Sticks’ is about 3rd lifesize older woman carying a bunch of sticks. What more can you say?

Woman with Sticks

‘In Bed’ is huge, 8-10m long installation , and takes part in one of two time laps movies showing its production. Although large in scale this was to me the least interesting of Ron’s work here. The mild expression doesn’t convey much feeling at all.

In Bed

One of the last sculptures is ‘Drift’, a man on an inflatable attached to a blue wall. I assume some comment on religion or something as he seems to form a crucifix, though a very chilled out one.

Drift

Overall a fantastic exhibition of ultra realistic sculptures mostly with a very compelling feeling expressed.

2 comments

  1. It’s impressive that the sense of scale does not come across in the photos. The exhibition is sensational! Pregnant woman was my favourite, though the expression on the face of ‘Man in a boat’ had me wondering what he was looking at!

    Great article Rob 🙂

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