Hyperrealist sculptor Ron Mueck works in the realm of the ultra-real where he spends hundreds of hours perfecting the shape of the human form, the appropriate color of skin, and the most realistic hair texture. All of his efforts culminate in incredibly lifelike figurative sculptures with one small (or large) exception: the artworks are often gigantic or miniaturized, resulting in an uncomfortable “does not compute” moment when trying to comprehend exactly what you’re looking at. Each sculpted person is as bizarre as it is amazing, in part because of the raw intimacy portrayed in their faces, as if we are somehow witnessing the documentation of a private moment.
Like several other hyperrealist sculptors Mueck began his sculpting career in entertainment where he started work as a puppeteer, creating models and puppets for children’s movies and TV shows. Most notably he worked on Jim Henson’s film Labyrinth and even provided the voice for the character Ludo. In 1996 he made the switch to fine art and quickly rose to prominence with exhibitions at the Royal Academy and the National Gallery in London.
Last month Mueck unveiled three new works at the Fondation Cartier in Paris as part of an exhibition that runs through September 29th, including the extraordinary Couple Under an Umbrella shown above. You can watch the video to get a little more perspective on just how large this artwork really is. All images above courtesy Fondation Cartier.