The 5 metre long baby. And other mis-sized wonders.

May 30, 2008

Truly astonishing.
That’s the best way I can describe the experience of seeing Ron Mueck’s work.

At the tail end of 2006 I had the good-fortune to go to the Ron Mueck exhibition at the National Galleries on the Mound in Edinburgh. What I saw was a whole room of people walking around, resembling guppies. Almost every single person was walking around with their lower jaw distended, in a look of utter amazement.
I think it’s a combination of things. One, these models are hyper-real. Each individual hair is hand stitched into the body of the model. Two, they are all of an unreal scale. Some of them are massive, others are small. And that leads me on to three. Which is that, as the whole exhibition is messing with scale, you start to lose all real perception of what’s right and what’s wrong, and that adds another level to the surreal experience.

I’ve been to quite a number of gallery openings and exhibitions over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something that disarms people quite so effectively ever before. If you ever get the chance to go and see an exhibition of Ron Mueck’s work you shouldn’t even think about it. Just go.

I was blown away by the experience. He’s a very interesting person, who started out making puppets for Jim Henson (yes, the one of Muppets fame). He made many models for the film Labyrinth, and even contributed the voice for one of the characters. He then moved to London, from Oz, and started making models for advertising shoots. He then progressed onto the works we see today, and has managed to make the hyper-real seem almost unreal. The scale thing is what makes his work so memorable. So if you get the chance, as I said before, don’t think about it. Just go and enjoy it.

Discover more about him and his work here.

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