In Bed (2005) and Dead Dad (1996)
Ron Mueck a photo-realist artist, who was born in Australian but currently, works in London. Mueck much sought after for being inscrutable in personality but also for his sculptures. Mueck worked on children’s TV shows for 15 years, and then progressed to special effects in films such as Labyrinth in 1986. Mueck started an adverting company where he would make photographic models to be or used in advertising. Keeping many of the dolls, he made in this period. He started to notice that the sculpted objects felt as if they became an apparition all by themselves. Mueck fascinated by their presence; this ultimately led him to believe that photography terminates any physical presence that the sculptures may have. The obvious answer to Mueck was to reintroduce him to fine art and sculpture.
Mueck used his skills he gained in the commercial world of special effects, model making, and animatronics to shift into a new movement as an artist. Whilst he was in advertising in the early 1990s, Mueck was commissioned to make a sculpture that would be hyper- realistic. Initially Mueck was unsure of the materials to use, in making a realistic model; He tried working with Latex, but shortly found it was not the material for him, so he tried fibreglass resin, as it is much harder and more precise. He also worked with silicon and acrylic in his career subsequently casted them with clay.
In 1996, Mueck made a figure of Pinocchio, which The Saatchi Gallery saw and instantly wanted the work exhibited in the gallery. Once Mueck finished making Pinocchio, he then started working on Dead Man in 1997.This was a model of his late father, this work was also part of the Saatchi collection. Dead Man brought him international success shown in the Royal Academy of Arts in London, even a record-breaking price paid (by the National Gallery of Australia) for artwork of a living artist in Australia at the time.
Mueck certainly is not procedural with the multi-staged process when it comes to making his conversion into the accurate life-like sculptures. Mueck uses many different techniques; such as modelling software to create the base point for his ideas of the design. Mueck still uses the standard traditional methods, enabling him to be spontaneous, making discoveries whilst experimenting. Whilst designing the models he will make many adjustments, this is paramount to his uncanny and eccentric vision. Mueck is masterful with his control but also allowing the freedom to create one off pieces, adapting himself to different materials all displaying their own unique qualities, both in the models and used materials.
Mueck thinks that if he were to make life size figures that it would spoil the concept of his work, the viewer he feels would not question the sculpture and would lose the emotional and psychological impact, the audience would feel a sense of normality and would lose some of the object’s appeal. Mueck simply listens to the outside world, never speaking whilst he is working.
Mueck does not think of his sculpture as just as mannequins. He believes the entire object has an ability to captivate the human nature but also the human soul and yet they still work as object in their own right. He aims to make you question if they are living beings and he likes the confusion it can bring to the viewer. Mueck makes a variety of different sizes when it comes to his models; his disposition is for them to be in crowded gallery spaces, making the work do all the talking for him. This enhances the intimidation the viewer receives, so that it withholds the most poignancy. The idea is that the exhibition becomes a trap for the viewer due to the folds of skins, hairs, toenails and sweat visible, the viewer will question the models and the reason why they are important and purpose they serve, but also enables the audience to value the sheer beauty of artwork created.
The agitating responses via the viewer are transcendent of an uncanny question of realness that will make the viewer examine the vast detailed surface. Mueck’s has a vast array of skills. More interesting is a discussion of his standing in the history of figuration. His ability to show graphically and yet still displays a clean and fresh extremity, visualising clarity and acute observation that can distinguish him from his contemporaries, who also explore strategies of realism. Mueck is a master at orchestrating the lines between the vision and reality. His figures invite the audience to interrogate the subject layer upon layer of subject matter, “warts and all” so to speak. A journey through the undulating images every aspect on close inspection only illuminates the beauty of the captured details.
Mueck continues throughout all projects to be spontaneous, this dramatically inspires me to do much the same, trying new or traditional methods, or experimenting with more unique methods may potentially suit the project best. The sense of scale is something Meuck takes into significant consideration. This is something I want to take into consideration myself when planning to exhibit my own work. I feel life-size a bed would create the right depth and atmosphere but much like Mueck in thinking my other object should be altered to not look so lifelike/realistic so that the viewer will question it, hopefully forcing them to understand the meaning behind it. Like Mueck I feel like objects are very captivating in presence, and shall say more about the story, I’d like to tell not just use photographs alone, I feel I would benefit from using realistic objects. I feel that there should be a confusion towards my project as a viewer, as it should be a metaphoric reference but also so that the viewer is completely captivated affording greater time trying to understand it. Freestanding objects and photographs will allow my work to speak rather than a section of text on the wall explaining it. I would also like to explore hyperrealism but still be intimate and fragile much like Mueck’s work. I would also like my work investigated by an intrigued viewer.