Magical Hyper Realistic Sculptures of Ron Mueck



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If you have ever seen that iconic, five metre tall sculpture – incredibly detailed and life-like –  called Boy 1999 by Ron Mueck, you realise that there comes a point, in sculptural art, at which Dramatic attention to detail in the creation of  hyper realistic artwork simply beggars belief. Boy 1999 is so real that it cannot be set apart from the real person it is supposed to represent, typical of all work by this astonishing artist.

He was born in Australia in 1958, his early career being that of a model maker, puppeteer and animator  for children’s television and films, perhaps most  notable being his work on the fantasy film  Labyrinth, in which he not only supplied various examples of his undoubted artistic talent, but also  contributed the voice of Ludo, one of the main characters.

These early forays into the film and TV worlds led to his  establishing his own company in London, specialising in the production, for the advertising industry, of photo-realistic props and animatronics.

The nature of these was such that – though highly detailed – such props were unfortunately designed only  to be photographed from one specific angle, and this was very unsatisfactory for this perfectionist sculptor, who really wanted  to produce realistic sculptures, from whatever angle they were seen

So it was that in 1996, this frustrated artist finally moved to where he belonged – in fine art – and though  collaborating with Paula Rego, his mother-in-law, began to produce small figures for inclusion in a tableau she was to display at the Hayward Gallery.

She found that her long-time friend Charles Saatchi was immediately impressed by her son-in-law’s efforts, introduced the two of them, and Saatchi at once became a collector, commissioning work. Of course, this propelled Mueck into the artistic stratosphere.

The piece which, in 1997, made Mueck’s name, after being included in the Royal Academy’s Sensation show, was dubbed Dead Dad – a mixed media sculpture of his father’s corpse – the only work of his using his own hair.

Just breath-taking is the only way to describe how faithfully Mueck reproduces the minute detail of the human body, on every scale, to produce disconcertingly jarring visual images. Boy 1999 featured both in the Millennium Dome and later at the Venice Biennale art exhibition, and the 2002 created Pregnant Woman sculpture got snapped up, for $800,000,  by the National Gallery of Australia. This is, in every sense of the word, an incredibly talented sculptor, whose work holds viewers spellbound, and no wonder.

Woman in bed

Woman in bed


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