Books on contemporary artists: Ron Mueck

Ron Mueck by David Hurlston is the first-ever comprehensive look at internationally known artist Ron Mueck’s hyperrealist figurative sculpture. Here we take a look at the Australian artist’s ideas and methods.

Those not familiar with Ron Mueck’s name will almost certainly be familiar with his work as a sculpture and model maker. Early in his career he built puppets for the 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth and worked on the Jim Henson series The Storyteller. Those following the contemporary art scene will be aware of his sculpture Dead Dad, which generated some controversy but also made Mueck famous (it is a silicone and mixed media sculpture of the corpse of Mueck’s father reduced to about two thirds of its natural scale). Those who visited the Millennium Dome may also recall his five metre high sculpture Boy 1999.

Mueck’s sculptures are best known for reproducing in minute detail the human body in various positions. However, Mueck also plays dramatically with scale; a newborn baby, with traces of afterbirth and blood, looms impressively over viewers, measuring sixteen feet from crown to foot, while a half-clothed couple would fit easily on a coffee table. Works such as Mother and ChildPregnant WomanMan in a Boat, and Swaddled Baby have become famous this disconcertingly jarring visual effect.

To read in detail about how Ron Mueck actually creates these lifelike sculptures, Brian Kennedy, former director of the National Gallery of Australia has written a really interesting piece on the making of Mueck’s Pregnant Woman.

Take a look at some of Ron Mueck’s work in this video from Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey…


Ron Mueck by David Hurlston

Ron Mueck by David Hurlston

About the book

Today, Ron Mueck’s sculptures are some of the most widely acclaimed, prominent, and identifiable works of contemporary art. Produced in close collaboration with the artist, Ron Mueck by David Hurlston (the curator of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Victoria) is a beautifully illustrated book, and the first to provide a comprehensive look at Mueck’s work to date. This book offers detailed insight into the artist’s ideas and methods and features a catalogue raisonne. It provides essays by leading scholars that highlight the depth of his practice and further affirm Mueck’s importance.

Visit the Yale website to read more about this book.

Page Spreads from 'Ron Mueck'

Page Spreads from ‘Ron Mueck’

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  • August 12, 2011


    That looks fantastic. His sculptures are unbeleivable.

  • August 12, 2011


    Those sculptures are amazing. Incredibly life-like, and it’s neat to see how this artist explores different positions and scale with people. I mean, the photo in your post of people looking at the crouching Boy is really wild.

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