Ron Mueck: sculptor at large
November 27, 2005 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Big Man is the final sculpture in a current exhibit on Melancholy - Genius and Insanity in the Western World at the Grand Palais in Paris. Hyper-realist Ron Mueck creates imposing figures by playing with large and small scale. (warning: art nudity)
posted by madamjujujive (18 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've seen his work up close...he's totally amazing. Great post.
posted by nevercalm at 8:31 AM on November 27, 2005

Wow, really creepy but beautiful. I love the woman with the baby.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:39 AM on November 27, 2005

I like this photo of Big Man better. And another.
posted by Nelson at 8:55 AM on November 27, 2005

His subjects are naked, in vulnerable poses. I think he's making a statement that in a universe that is incomprehensibly big, humans are insignificantly small.

But you could probably find other meanings, or none at all, such is art.
posted by stbalbach at 9:02 AM on November 27, 2005

What the photos don't indicate of "Big Man" is that he's about 2x normal size. I took his picture a couple years ago.
posted by crunchland at 9:33 AM on November 27, 2005

Thanks for the post, these are great.
posted by Staggering Jack at 9:34 AM on November 27, 2005

Good post. I saw his Dead Dad [nsfw - nudity] at the Sensation exhibition in 1997. Creepy does not even begin to cover it.
posted by brautigan at 9:56 AM on November 27, 2005

*hugs madamjujujive*
posted by matteo at 10:38 AM on November 27, 2005

Mueck has another exhibition in Paris right now, five new pieces at the Fondation Cartier (warning: flash, but worth navigating through it to get to the pics; also nudity) which I saw on Wednesday. It includes a fabulous sculpture of a seated, bearded, naked man, twice life size, clearly uncomfortable with his situation. Mueck's work is consistently stunning, not just for its hyper-realism but for its humanity.

A story I tell too often: at the 1997 Sensation exhibition the only one of the much-hyped exhibits to draw a crowd was Dead Dad, the half-size model of Mueck's dead father, naked on the gallery floor. All the viewers were respectfully silent apart from an eight-year-old who, having stood transfixed by the sculpture, turned to his father and asked in a hushed tone: "Is it real?" Possibly the most perceptive comment I've ever heard about a piece of art. Thank you, Mr Mueck.
posted by Hogshead at 10:40 AM on November 27, 2005

I'd love to see in detail how he makes one, but perhaps that is a trade secret.
posted by snoktruix at 11:02 AM on November 27, 2005

I work at the National Gallery in Canada, and will often spend my breaks standing in the corner of the room, watching people encounter this work. It's positioned so that it's the first thing you see as you enter the contemporary galleries, and is so visually arresting that I've seen people stop in the doorway.

School children love it, but adults seem to have a harder time dealing with it.
posted by deadtrouble at 11:08 AM on November 27, 2005

Snoktruix, apparently the catalogue for the Fondation Cartier show (not yet published) will document the creation of the five works. The basic information: silicon rubber, painted.
posted by Hogshead at 11:16 AM on November 27, 2005

The baby's head and the artist's mask made me thing of the Gorillaz "Dare" video.

A bit of googling turns up this delivery photo for Untitled (Boy), strange in its own right (apparently by Guatier LeBlonde; see). Especially with the foreground, that was brilliant.

I don't think it's a trade secret how he makes them; he was with the Henson team at one time and there are plenty of movie special effects people who do very much the same sort of thing, in a different context.
posted by dhartung at 11:28 AM on November 27, 2005

snoktruix, if you go to What's On/Ron Mueck/The Workshop on the Fondation Cartier link that Hogshead posted (much to my delight, thanks!) there is a great slide show (flash) of Mueck working on sculptures.

Nelson, crunchland, brautigan, deadtrouble. dhartung - thanks for adding links to more works - that's what I love about mefi - we make an awesome tag team!
posted by madamjujujive at 11:37 AM on November 27, 2005

Wow, awesome post. Disturbing yet fascinating...
posted by airgirl at 3:40 PM on November 27, 2005

Nice post.
The reason I still ever come here.
posted by HTuttle at 9:58 PM on November 27, 2005

Way cool, thanks madamjujujive.
posted by safetyfork at 9:43 AM on November 28, 2005

This is great stuff. The intensely realistic sculptural style reminds me of Patricia Piccinini's work, and is just as disturbing in its own way.
posted by medialyte at 10:59 AM on November 28, 2005

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