Thursday, 3 October 2013

Ron Muek


I would like to share with you my passion for the work of an Australian sculptor - Ron Meuk


 I first encountered his figures at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, sometime in 2006

I have been hooked ever since!

A Girl

Apart from the extraordinary scale of these figures it is the hyper-realism of their construction - in which every wrinkle, every hair of the body is methodically in place - that makes them unique objects

It is not only a remarkable technical achievement but creepily obsessive!

In Bed

It just so happened that my niece - Kirsten - was a Curator at the time at the Museum of Modern Art in Edinburgh

It was her job, each evening, to make sure that these giant resin figures were kept dust free and that the linen - in the bed shown above, for example - was regularly laundered

Some job, eh?!

Mask II

 Ron Muek was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1958 - the son of German toy makers

Man in a Boat

Meuk began his professional career as a model maker and puppeteer for children's film

His break-through came when Maurice Saatchi spotted his early sculptures and became his first major collector and sponsor


 In a recent book, Oliver Sacks noted that certain fevers can produce a sensation in patients in which their limbs appear to change size alarmingly

I myself experienced this as a child when suffering from Chicken Pox. It was very scary!


The boy shown above is over five meters high

The frightened look in his eyes is such that one wonders if he too is aware of the disparity between himself and the 'normal' human photographed standing at his feet

Was this not part of the human mystery that informs Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels with its giant Brobdingnagians and tiny Lilliputians?

It is not so much that Gulliver encounters large and small creatures but that his size, relative to them, changes. 

Is that not what Muek is doing here?

Still Life

The above sculpture is something of a departure for Muek

Here the effect is not simply one of abnormal size but something that depends for its overall effect on a play on the word 'still'

This may be, in artistic terminology, a 'still life' but is there still life in this plucked chicken?

Hopefully not!

Dead Dad

The above figure, said to be based on Muek's own father, is one of the more disturbing works by this great artist

Wild Man

This particular figure was in the Edinburgh exhibition of Muek's work that I attended in 2006

Kirsten, responsible for ensuring that this figure stayed dust free, was particularly challenged by this man's size

Balancing on top of a ladder with a feather duster, alone in this gallery after visitors have left, must surely have been one of her more spooky experiences!

Two Women

These two figures were also at Edinburgh that year

They look as if they have stepped straight out of Coronation Street and yet the extraordinary detail of their skin and clothes - combined with the evil glance of these two tiny, malevolent figures - gives them great power

Woman With Sticks

Part of Muek's skill is to add entirely realistic elements to his highly manufactured, resin figures

Here real sticks held against the woman's plastic belly is somehow quite shocking

Big Man

 The subdued, self-absorption of this giant gives it a curious sadness

Muek's figures are also hugely expressive - regardless of their size - and that, in my view, is what makes him a truly great artist.

Mike Healey

The above images are taken from Bored Panda.

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