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18 April 2010

Ron Mueck

I went to the Ron Mueck exhibition at NGV yesterday. It was extraordinary.

Ron Mueck is an Australian-born artist, who creates hyperrealistic sculptures at adjusted and unusual scales. He had a good education in the surreal and uncanny, working for Jim Henson as a sculptor and puppeteer (he played Ludo in Labyrinth - squee!).

The first piece - Dead Dad - was a very vulnerable naked replica of Mueck's father after his death. The sculpture is scaled down about 2/3, and is the only one of his sculptures where Mueck used his own hair.
There's almost no explanation about Mueck's work in the exhibition - we are invited to come to our own conclusions. One of the most fascinating things was seeing what caught people's attention: blood on the giant baby's toenails, the Wild Man's feet, the bunched brown stockings on the two old women. People saw their grandparents in some of the pieces, Christ in others, and themselves in many. It was the perfect kind of utterly democratic art - you don't need to be a critic to "get" it, and it means something different to everyone. There were plenty of children in the exhibition, and they too were fascinated - I suppose the constant reevaluating of your scale in relation to others is something that children are very familiar with.

But it was this piece that really caught me. I'm not sure why. Michael said it left him wondering if he was a normal sized man looking at a small man in a boat, or whether HE was a giant, and the man in the boat was normal sized. I just loved his vulnerable fragility, his dignity, his loneliness. It left me itching to write a fantasy novel. I might just go and jot down some notes now...


genevieve said...

I imagine Mueck would be delighted by that response, Lili.

Mike said...

I love the bleak comedy of the man in the boat. At first we notice him, clearly *middle aged*, thinning hair, a bit fleshy. And then we notice the way he is looking up ahead, trying to see what might be beyond the bend.
But we have seen him already. And know what lies ahead for him.
And us.

james roy said...

How much longer is the exhibition on? I'll be in Melbourne in a fortnight, and I love Mueck's work.

BTW, did you se the Ricky Swallow exhibition when it was on that the NGV?

lili said...

Sadly it's finished - I went on the second last day. I'm always so rubbish with that kind of thing. Lazy Lili.