I’m a bit late with this post given that the Ron Mueck exhibition at NGV International closes this Sunday – but if you have a chance get down to NGV tonight (it’s open till 9pm) or this weekend to see some really life-like giant people and miniature people.
Ron Mueck is a Melbourne-born London-based sculptor who first made a name for himself on the international art scene through the notorious Sensation exhibition of young British artists held by Charles Saatchi in 1997 (which also included the now-famous works of Damien Hurst and Tracy Emin). Mueck also represented Australia at the 2001 Venice Biennale.
NGV is currently holding Australia’s largest ever exhibition of Mueck’s realistic portrayals of creased, flabby, veiny and hairy people of all ages, genders and conditions – and one very large trussed chicken. Some of the sleeping subjects were so real I fully expected them to be breathing softly.
Mueck’s method of enlarging or shrinking the proportions of his subjects makes them unnverving, poignant, humorous and puzzling.
I think his large works were more striking for me, as the size amplified the people’s often wary, frightened, isolated and quizzical expressions. The small works turned the people into dolls and it was easier to feel detached from their emotions – though others may disagree.
I actually found it more interesting to observe other people’s reactions to the artworks rather than the sculptures themselves. In particular, parents seem to have a penchant for posing their frightened kids next to the giant bloodied baby or the huge hairy naked man. A far cry from Disneyland, Dad.
I was also bemused by this girl who squatted, transfixed by a dangling chicken’s head. ‘Stay there love, let me take a photo of you with the big chicken.’
To read more reviews of the exhibition, check out Art Blart.