Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ron Mueck

I wish there were a way to describe the truly life-like qualities of the sculptures by Australian born artist Ron Mueck. Every pore, every detail and difference in the texture of the skin from chin to toenail, exact and so very, well… REAL. I am utterly fascinated by his work in a way I haven't been by contemporary art in a LONG time.

We went to the Brooklyn Museum this weekend to check it out in person before the closing of the exhibition. If you haven't seen it yet, GO. It really is something you have to experience in person. The photos just don't do it justice.

The giant baby was one of my favorites. The scale of this piece definitely threw me the most. So delicate and fragile in nature, her enormousness contradicted everything we know and feel about babies. It felt as if we were all observing a 'circus freak,' and yet despite her size, she still seemed vulnerable. From certain angles, looking at her giant head made me feel like I was inches away from a real live newborn held in my arms, as if close up into its' face, captivated by the miracle of her tiny, living, breathing body. However there's a strange sensation of role-reversal, as if she were the one to look upon the tiny fragility of us, the adults standing around her. Is she staring in disbelief at our tiny, living, breathing bodies? Who is the baby, the vulnerable one, in this situation?

Of course I'm usually drawn to the slightly creepy or high discomfort factor in art (see toddlerpedes post - May 11th), but there was something about this work that affected me in a whole new way. I've always been captivated by artists and objects that challenge our sense of scale. Part of this probably comes from my experience as a child, my love of traditional doll houses as well as Barbie and all the miniature accessories of those worlds; the forks and knives, the fake fruit, the toaster… there's just something about seeing objects smaller and LARGER than we're accustomed to that is inherently fascinating and challenges the way we relate to that object. Mueck creates work that plays with a full range of scale, large and small. The "Spooning Couple" below is only 65 centimeters long - and by far the most intimate piece in the show, eliciting many emotions.

More than anything Mueck plays with our sense of what feels real.


David said...

Truly inspiring in person. Such a vulnerability rarely seen in art, and I think it's mainly just for the sheer fact that it is so REAL. These are giants and hobbits, all human in all scales. Like our earth all of a sudden lost all sense of scale, yet didn't take away our qualities that make us. If these were really alive, I think they would freak out to see each other in such odd sizes all in one room at first, but that fact alone would probably bring them great comfort. Puts intolerance towards other humans of different colors, sizes, and abilities into perspective. Amazing powerful. Glad we got to see it love!

Mirre said...

I've been lucky enough to have seen his work in person...indeed very impressive!

I found your blog through Whipup and I just wanted to tell you that I think you make fantastic art!

Midge said...

Thank you so much mirre! It's always wonderful to hear from those who enjoy my work!