Photo Flash: Ron Mueck - Is it Real, or is it Art?

Ron Mueck is an Australian hyperrealist sculptor working in the United Kingdom. He began his career working on the Australian children's television program Shirl's Neighbourhood. His early career was as a model maker and puppeteer for children's television and films, notably the film Labyrinth for which he also contributed the voice of Ludo, and the Jim Henson series The Storyteller. Check out some of his amazing work below!

Mueck moved on to establish his own company in London, making photo-realistic props and animatronics for the advertising industry. Although highly detailed, these props were usually designed to be photographed from one specific angle hiding the mess of construction seen from the other side. Mueck increasingly wanted to produce realistic sculptures that looked perfect from all angles.

In 1996 Mueck transitioned to fine art, collaborating with his mother-in-law, Paula Rego, to produce small figures as part of a tableau she was showing at the Hayward Gallery. Rego introduced him to Charles Saatchi who was immediately impressed and started to collect and commission work. This led to the piece that made Mueck's name, Dead Dad, being included in the Sensation show at the Royal Academy the following year. Dead Dad is a silicone and mixed media sculpture of the corpse of Mueck's father reduced to about two thirds of its natural scale. It is the only work of Mueck's that uses his own hair for the finished product.

Mueck's sculptures faithfully reproduce the minute detail of the human body, but play with scale to produce disconcertingly jarring visual images. His five metre high sculpture Boy1999 was a feature in the Millennium Dome and later exhibited in the Venice Biennale. Today it sits as the centerpiece in the foyer off the Danish Contemporary Art Museum ARoS in Aarhus.




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by Barry Kostrinsky