Ron Mueck Ron Mueck

Ron Mueck

Australian
b. 1958
/

Overview

'Although I spend a lot of time on the surface, it's the life inside I want to capture.'

Ron Mueck's meticulously sculpted figures, ranging from the minute to the monumental, each reflect an inner world of private feelings with unsettling power. The startling realism of these works invites an empathetic engagement with the challenges and perils of our shared humanity. The artist's intimate, understated meditations on universal experiences and emotions, such as birth, death, vulnerability, fear and compassion, invite viewers to reflect on their own and those of others. His work elicits an immediate emotional response by using all the traditional elements of his medium – pose, gesture, facial expression, scale and realism – to create powerful psychological portraits of the human condition.

Having begun his career in the world of film and television, Mueck's move into fine art was initiated by a collaboration with Paula Rego at the Hayward Gallery in 1996. A year later, his sculpture Dead Dad, a three-foot representation of the artist's father, became a highlight of the era-defining Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. This landmark group show established Mueck as one of the most important artists of his generation. In 2000, Mueck was invited to spend two years as artist-in-residence at the National Gallery in London, with a remit to create work in response to the permanent collection. The sculptures made during that time were presented in a solo exhibition at the National Gallery in 2003.

Ron Mueck's meticulously sculpted figures, ranging from the minute to the monumental, each reflect an inner world of private feelings with unsettling power. The startling realism of these works invites an empathetic engagement with the challenges and perils of our shared humanity. The artist's intimate, understated meditations on universal experiences and emotions, such as birth, death, vulnerability, fear and compassion, invite viewers to reflect on their own and those of others. His work elicits an immediate emotional response by using all the traditional elements of his medium – pose, gesture, facial expression, scale and realism – to create powerful psychological portraits of the human condition.

Having begun his career in the world of film and television, Mueck's move into fine art was initiated by a collaboration with Paula Rego at the Hayward Gallery in 1996. A year later, his sculpture Dead Dad, a three-foot representation of the artist's father, became a highlight of the era-defining Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. This landmark group show established Mueck as one of the most important artists of his generation. In 2000, he was invited to spend two years as artist-in-residence at the National Gallery in London, with a remit to create work in response to the permanent collection. The sculptures made during that time were presented in a solo exhibition at the National Gallery in 2003.

Mueck was born to German parents in Melbourne, Australia, in 1958, and now lives and works in the UK. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at prominent institutions, including the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2018); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2017); Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland (2016); Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2016); Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (2014); and National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2010). In 2017, Mueck was invited to take make a new work for the inaugural NGV Triennial in Melbourne. The resulting installation, Mass, which consists of 100 giant skulls piled high amongst the gilt-framed paintings in the museum's collection of 18th-century art, is his most monumental work to date.

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