Ron Mueck

par Regina Diaz – Partenariat avec le Mural du Campus de Poitiers

Once you enter the room it takes a few minutes for you to realize that the person in front of you is just a sculpture. Every feature is done to such a detailed extent that you’ll expect the figure to get up and greet you.

Mueck sculptures clearly reflect the progress in material development at achieving such an extent of realism. Various critics, impressed by the quality and themes presented in his work, have qualified him as one of the most revealing artists from the past years. Due to his various exhibits in London, Paris, New York, Mexico and numerous other cities, Mueck has become well known internationally. But what is it that is so appealing about his work? Even though, it could be said that realism has lost audience in the past years by an apparent lack of an interesting approach, Mueck has managed to call the attention of many.

The realism movement was born in XIX century in France in the aftermath of the French Revolution as an opposition to romanticism. Realist artists believed that reality existed independently of our own perceptions, and they strove to depict this world in their artwork. Today, due to the fact that it is more difficult to identify one movement from another, the type of art an artist specializes in is more a question of choice than a connection to their time. The problem and risks of artists deciding to work in realism is its strong sensitiveness to improvements in materials. Improvements in material always give artists new and better capabilities to make something more real.

However, to reduce the artist and their piece to its physical materials and their time it’s a bit harsh. In my opinion, realism allows you to see the oddness in reality. This is in fact what calls the attention of so many, experiencing a transition of a familiar scene becoming something new to something almost unnatural.

Bringing exhibits such as Muecks to countries where people are not as in touch with art as others has a lot of benefits mainly it is an effective way to bring people closer to art and furthermore to promote cultural activities.

I had a chance to go to Mueck’s exhibit in Mexico City; considering it a city where knowledge and art is mostly reduced to a small group in society, I was impressed at its impact. Everyday, San Ildenfonso, the location of the exhibit was full, mornings, afternoons and evenings. But even more amusing the interactions within the exhibit showed that people felt no constraints at saying what they thought. It felt as if social differences were not present in the exhibit room. People talked about the pieces, shared glances across the room looking at a giant woman lying on a bed, at the pensive man in a boat or even at a dead chicken hanging in San Ildenfonso`s hundred year old chapel.

Mueck’s figures have made people wonder about human attributes, imperfections, and their own complexity. The strong popularity of the exhibits shows that humans have not yet ceased to be amused by them.

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