Ron Mueck

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'Mask II' by Mueck (2001-2), believed to be a self-portrait

Ronald "Ron" Mueck (/ˈmjuːɛk/ or /ˈmuːɪk/; born 1958, Melbourne) is an Australian hyperrealist sculptor working in the United Kingdom.

Early work[edit]

Ron Mueck was born in Australia to German parents.[1] He began his career working on the Australian children's television program Shirl's Neighbourhood. He was the creative director and made, voiced and operated the puppets Greenfinger the Garden Gnome, Ol' Possum, Stanley the snake and Claude the Crow amongst many others. The show was made for Channel 7 Melbourne between 1979 and 1984, broadcast nationally and starred the ex-lead singer of Skyhooks, Graeme "Shirley" Strachan.

Mueck's early career was as a model maker and puppeteer for children's television and films, notably the film Labyrinth for which he also contributed the voice of Ludo, and the Jim Henson series The Storyteller.

Mueck moved on to establish his own company in London, making photo-realistic props and animatronics for the advertising industry. Although highly detailed, these props were usually designed to be photographed from one specific angle hiding the mess of construction seen from the other side. Mueck increasingly wanted to produce realistic sculptures that looked perfect from all angles.


In 1996 Mueck transitioned to fine art, collaborating with his mother-in-law, Paula Rego, to produce small figures as part of a tableau she was showing at the Hayward Gallery. Rego introduced him to Charles Saatchi who was immediately impressed and started to collect and commission work. This led to the piece that made Mueck's name, Dead Dad, being included in the Sensation show at the Royal Academy the following year. Dead Dad is a silicone and mixed media sculpture of the corpse of Mueck's father reduced to about two thirds of its natural scale. It is the only work of Mueck's that uses his own hair for the finished product.

Mueck's sculptures faithfully reproduce the minute detail of the human body, but play with scale to produce disconcertingly jarring visual images. His five metre high sculpture Boy 1999 was a feature in the Millennium Dome and later exhibited in the Venice Biennale. Today it sits as the centerpiece in the foyer off the Danish Contemporary Art Museum ARoS in Aarhus.

In 1999 Mueck was appointed as Associate Artist at the National Gallery, London. During this two-year post he created the works Mother and Child, Pregnant Woman, Man in a Boat, and Swaddled Baby.[2]

In 2002 his sculpture Pregnant Woman[3] was purchased by the National Gallery of Australia for A$800,000.


"In Bed" by Ron Mueck (2005)

Ron Mueck's first exhibition in Japan opened on 26 April 2009 at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. It ran until 8 August and featured a collection of works displayed over six spaces in the gallery. Among them were Mueck's latest work, "A Girl". The exhibition also included two short films about the artist, covering both his artistic background and his production techniques.

An exhibition was held at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, from 12 December 2007 through 30 March 2008. "Ron Mueck at The Andy Warhol Museum" featured seven of the artist’s realistic human sculptures, including: In Bed; A Girl; Wild Man; Spooning Couple; Man in a Boat; Mask II; and Mask III.

A major exhibition of his work was shown as part of the Edinburgh Festival at the Royal Scottish Academy Building until 1 October 2006.[4] A solo exhibition of nine works by Ron Mueck was presented at the Brooklyn Museum from 3 November 2006 through 4 February 2007.[5]

An exhibit of his work was also on view at the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa from 2 March to 6 May 2007, organized by the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain (Paris), in collaboration with the National Gallery of Canada, the Brooklyn Museum and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, showed an exhibition of thirteen of Mueck's pieces from 24 June 2007, through 21 October 2007. The works in the show include Untitled (Seated Woman) (1999), Dead Dad (1996–97), In Bed (2005), Untitled (Big Man) (2000), Two Women (2005), Crouching Boy in Mirror (1999–2000), Spooning Couple (2005), Mask II (2001–2002), Mask III (2005), Wild Man (2005), and A Girl (2006).[6]

A major retrospective of Mueck's work was held in his home town of Melbourne, Australia, in April 2010, at the National Gallery of Victoria.

The Christchurch Art Gallery hosted a touring version of the National Gallery of Victoria's exhibition from 2 October 2010 to 23 January 2011.[7] The antique College of San Ildefonso Mexico 2011. Mueck participated in the group show Lifelike in 2012 which originated at the Walker Art Center.[8]

From November 2013 to February 2014, Ron Mueck was exhibited for the first time in Latin America. The exhibition took place in Fundación Proa, a modern art museum in La Boca, Buenos Aires.[9] Leaving Argentina, the South American tour went to Brazil, with the nine works following to Rio de Janeiro, where they were exposed between March 20 and June 1, 2014 at MAM[10], marking the biggest audience in the history of that museum[11], and then to São Paulo, exhibited at the Pinacoteca during the period November 20 2014 to February 22, 2015[12].

Chronological list of works[13][edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Greeves, Susanna; Colin Wiggins (2003). Ron Mueck. London: National Gallery Company. pp. 23–41. ISBN 1-85709-167-1. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ National Galleries of Scotland - Whatson
  5. ^ Brooklyn Museum: Ron Mueck
  6. ^ Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
  7. ^ Christchurch Art Gallery | Exhibitions | Ron Mueck
  8. ^ Sheets, Hilarie M. (19 April 2012). "Use Your Illusion". ARTnews. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Ron Mueck in Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires
  10. ^ Ron Mueck in MAM-Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro
  11. ^ Ruan Mueck exhibition achieves record attendance at MAM
  12. ^ Ron Mueck in Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo
  13. ^ Hurlston, David; et al (2010). Ron Mueck (Exhibition Catalog). Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria. 

External links[edit]