Ron Mueck - The artist hard at work - Image via imgurcom media mixed 2005

Ron Mueck/ Ron Mueck

Australia 1958

Sculpture

Ron Mueck
Ron Mueck
Male
Australia
1958

Initially starting out as a model maker and puppeteer for children’s television shows and all manner of films, London-based sculptor Ron Mueck eventually established himself as a unique author of fine art, hyper-realistic sculptures. Active in the practice that made him famous from the year of 1996, this artist uses resin, fiberglass, silicone and other various materials to construct pieces emphasized by the keen likenesses of human beings. Ron Mueck plays with the scale of his sculptures, often making things a lot bigger or a lot smaller than what they logically should be. He explains such a manner with the following statement: I never made life-size figures because it never seemed to be interesting. 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.[1] Before we start, it should also be noted that Ron Mueck is a notoriously private person – he rarely talks to the public and is not a fan of giving interviews too often. For that reason, many like to say that Ron is as enigmatic as the sculptures he creates.

Ron Mueck - A Girl Media, 2000 - Image via buzzworthycom
Ron Mueck – A Girl – Image via buzzworthy.com

Crossing the Pacific and Atlantic

Ron Mueck was born during the year of 1958, in the capital of Australia, Melbourne, to German parents. The son of toy-makers, he grew up making all sorts of creatures, dolls and outfits in his spare time, experimenting with different materials and techniques. Whilst still a young man, Mueck commenced his professional career as a model maker and puppeteer for children’s films and shows such as Shirl’s Neighbourhood, The Labyrinth and The Storyteller. As his professional development continued to evolve, Ron eventually started to make photo-realistic props and animatronics for the private advertising industry. After working in film and television in the United States and London, Mueck shifted his focus to the fine arts in the mid-1990s. By 1996, he was completely committed to fine art practices, fully abandoning all the commercial jobs he held in the past. In 1999, he was appointed as Associate Artist at the National Gallery, London.[2]

During the early periods of his life and art, Ron Mueck was taught to use all the tools at his disposal in order to achieve his artistic goals

Ron Mueck - The cartier at work, 2000 - Image via independentcouk
Ron Mueck – The artist at work – Image via independent.co.uk

Main Aspects of Ron Mueck’s Art

Whilst many artists strive to glamorize the real world through their representations and imitations of it, Ron Mueck does not want to depict our life as something better than it actually is. He wants us to see all the realities, the genuine struggles and real issues in his work, he does not want to make fake interpretations that hide the truth, sweeping it under the rug of dishonesty. Mueck often aims to present his characters in key moments of their imagined lives, covering the mysterious moments such as birth and death. Ron draws upon his own memories, dreams and everyday experiences in order to portray his subjects with extraordinary compassion, injecting a little bit of his own personality into every piece he completes. It should be noted that Ron usually spends over a year conceiving and making each figure in his workshop, allowing the maximum amount of time to find the perfect solutions on both the emotional and technical front. Ultimately, Mueck is able to enrich every feature of his work with astonishing detail whilst successfully underlining every sculpture with the desired emotion.[3]

View every woman or cartier on Facebook - even contact them through email found on Facebook
Ron Mueck – Mask III, 2005 – Image via photo.sf.ua

Interpreting the Mask of Ron Mueck

The naturalism of his work may be achieved with the astonishing level of detail in his pieces, but the entire hyper-realistic approach is undercut by Ron’s calculated play with the scale – some figures will fill the entirety of a gallery whereas others stand no more than three feet high. This feature is masterfully used by the author. When he moved to fine art in 1996, Ron started collaborating with his mother-in-law, Paula Rego, to produce small figures intended to be a part of a tableau showing at the Hayward Gallery. However, Mueck brought with him a key feature of making sculptures that heavily influenced his future practice – the props he was initially designing were designed to be photographed from one specific angle, regularly hiding the mess of construction seen from the other side of the facade.[4] Although a big part of his creativity wanted to rid itself of such a method, Ron actually continued to make realistic sculptures that look perfect from one angle and are quite a mess from all the others. His large masks are a good example of how the author was able to maintain his technique whilst also introducing valuable conceptual levels to his art.

By making his sculptures colossal in scale, Ron Mueck aims to make his search for a perfect balance between realism and surrealism a little bit manageable

New Paris fondation called Contemporain (2000) is interested in woman mixed media art
Ron Mueck – In Bed, 2005 (detail) – Image via qagoma.au

Key Exhibitions of Ron Mueck

Naturally, Mueck was a part of many great gallery and museum events on an international stage.[5] In 2006 and at the begining of 2007, a major exhibition of his work was shown at the Brooklyn Museum, presenting nine of his pieces. That same year, Ron’s wonders also found their way into the halls of the National Gallery of Canada and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. One of his milestone shows was the one held at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh in 2008. It featured seven of the artist’s realistic human sculptures, including In Bed, A Girl, Wild Man, Spooning Couple, Man in a Boat, Mask II and Mask III. Mueck’s first exhibition in Japan opened on 26 April in the year of 2009 at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. A major retrospective of Mueck’s work was held in his home town of Melbourne, Australia, during the April of 2010, at the National Gallery of Victoria. The time between the November of 2013 and February of 2014was when Ron Mueck was exhibited for the first time in Latin America – the show took place in Fundacion Proa, a modern art museum in La Boca, Buenos Aires. After Argentina, the South American tour of Ron’s art went to Brazil, with the nine works following to Rio de Janeiro, where they were exposed between March and June 1 at MAM. The succses of this show marked the biggest audience in the history of that museum.

New Paris fondation called Contemporain (formed in 2000) puts big emphasis on their mixed media view
Ron Mueck – Mask II, 2001 – Image via theatlantic.com

Recent and Popular Interpretations of His Art

Ultimately, many may feel obligated to say that the main aspect and the greatest success of Ron Mueck and his art is the fact he has reached such a high level of making hyper-realistic figures that only a few modern authors of the 20th century and later art can stand shoulder to shoulder with him. And many who would say that would be wrong. The greatest asset in Ron’s creative arsenal is his ability to balance the realism with the unreal aspects of his works, how he is able to adjust the perfect amounts of realism and surrealism without compromising either of the two.[6] It is for this reason that Mueck’s works command an uncanny ability to amaze all of its viewers – the obsessive surface details are nothing more than a tip of a much larger conceptual mountain that is Ron’s art. Appealing and engaging, these figures reveal our own personal needs to validate our humanity.

Ron Mueck lives and works in London, England, The United Kingdom.

References:

  1. Storr, R., Paton, J., Ron Mueck, Thames & Hudson; 1st edition, 2013
  2. Rosenblum, R., Ron Mueck, Thames & Hudson, 2006
  3. Sturgis, A., Presence: Sculpture and the Portrait, Antique Collectors Club Dist, 2012
  4. Hurlston, D., Ron Mueck, Yale University Press, 2011
  5. Greeves, S., Bastian, H., Mueck, R., Ron Mueck, Hatje Cantz Publishers; Bilingual edition, 2006
  6. Hartley, K., Ron Mueck, National Galleries Of Scotland, 2007

Featured image: Ron Mueck – The artist hard at work – Image via imgur.com
All images used for illustrative purposes only

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2017Gosh! Is It Alive?ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, Ishoj Group
2017Masterworks from the Hirshhorn CollectionHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC Group
2017No Man is an Island: The Satanic VersesARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus Group
2016Ron MueckSara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere Solo
2016The OthersKönig Galerie, Berlin Group
2016Escultura hiperrealista 1973-2016Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao Group
2015Ron Mueck: Pregnant WomanBendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo, VIC Solo
2015Ron MueckWinnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba Solo
2015NgorongoroLehderstrasse 34, Berlin Group
2015Arts and FoodsLa Triennale di Milano. Design Museum, Milan Group
2015Guess What? Hardcore Contemporary ArtNational Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (MOMAT), TokyoGroup
2015A Secret AffairFLAG Art Foundation, New York City, NY Group
2015Guess What? Hardcore Contemporary Art's Truly a World TreasureNational Museum of Modern Art Kyoto (MOMAK), Kyoto Group
2014Ron MueckPinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo Solo
2014Ron MueckMuseu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Solo
2014Guess What? Hardcore Contemporary Art’s Truly a World TreasureHiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima Group
2014In the fleshNational Portrait Gallery , Canberra, ACT Group
2014Lens-Based SculptureKunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz Group
2014Vivid MemoriesFondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris Group
2013Ron MueckFundación PROA, Buenos Aires Solo
2013Ron Mueck: Artist RoomsWolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton Solo
2013Ron MueckFondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris Solo
2013Its Surreal Thing: The Temptation of ObjectsSheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE Group
2013Let Go of uncertaintyThe New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, West Midlands Group
2012Ron MueckHauser & Wirth, London Solo
2012Der Nackte MannLentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Linz Group
2012Portrait SculptureThe Holburne Museum, Bath, Somerset Group
2012Through the Looking Glassme Collectors Room Berlin, Berlin Group
2011Ron MueckMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey MARCO, Monterrey, NL Solo
2011Dangerously YoungMuseum Dr. Guislain, Ghent Group
2011Nothing in the World But YouthTurner Contemporary, Margate, Kent Group
2010Ron MueckChristchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Christchurch Solo
2010Ron MueckManchester Art Gallery, Manchester Solo
2010Ron MueckNGV National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC Solo
2010Real LifeMacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, SK Group
2010Lebenslust und TotentanzKunsthalle Krems, Krems Group
2010Real LifeOakville Galleries, Oakville, ON Group
2010DisquietedPortland Art Museum, Portland, OR Group
2010Size does matterFLAG Art Foundation, New York City, NY Group
2009Artist Rooms Ron MueckAberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland Solo
2008Ron Mueck @ McClellandMcClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, VIC Solo
2008Ron MueckKanazawa, Kanazawa Solo
2007Ron MueckThe Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburg, PA Solo
2007Ron MueckThe Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX Solo
2007Ron MueckCAC Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga, Málaga Solo
2007Ron MueckNational Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON Solo
2006Ron MueckBrooklyn Museum of Art, New York City, NY Solo
2006Ron MueckRoyal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, Scotland Solo
2005Ron MueckFondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris Solo
2005Ron Mueck: The making of Pregnant Woman, 2002NGV National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC Solo
2003Ron Mueck Hyperrealistische beelden van ongewone formatenDe Hallen, Haarlem Solo
2003Ron Mueck: Hamburger BahnhofMuseum für Gegenwart, Berlin Solo
2003Ron Mueck: Making Sculpture at the National GalleryThe National Gallery, London Solo
2002Directions-Ron MueckHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC Solo
2001Rob Mueck New SculptureJames Cohan Gallery, New York City, NY Solo
2000Ron MueckAnthony d'Offay Gallery, London Solo
1998Ron MueckAnthony d'Offay Gallery, London Solo