Ron Mueck has been invited to present his new sculpture at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain from 16 April to 29 September 2013. This is his first major exhibition in Europe since the hugely successful Fondation Cartier exhibition of 2005.
In addition to six important recent sculptures the show includes three produced especially for this event. A new film recording their creation has been made for the occasion by Gautier Deblonde. Revealing the reclusive artist at work further emphasizes the sensitivity and power of Ron Mueck’s sculpture and highlights its particular resonance for our time.
A Ron Mueck exhibition is a rare event. Based in London, Ron Mueck has had highly acclaimed exhibitions around the world from Japan to Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, but shows of his new work in Europe have not been frequent occurrences. Mueck works slowly in his small North London studio, making time itself an important element in his creative process. His human figures are meticulously detailed, with surprising changes of scale that place them as far from academic realism as they are from pop art or hyperrealism.
Three new sculptures are exhibited here for the first time: two teenagers in the street, a mother and baby and an elderly couple on the beach. They seem to be frozen moments of life, each capturing the relationship between two human beings. The nature of their connection to each other is revealed by their actions, small, ordinary, yet intriguing. The precision of their gestures, the true-to-life rendering of their flesh, the suggestion of suppleness in their skin makes them seem completely real. These works describe situations which are imaginary but their obsession with truth indicates an artist in search of perfection and with an acute sensibility to form and material. By pushing likeness to its limits Ron Mueck creates works that are secret, meditative and mysterious.
Illuminating universal truths. These subjects that appear so ordinary also radiate a spirituality and profound humanity that provokes a response. Aiming well beyond the traditions of portraiture Ron Mueck reveals the uncanny nature of our relationship to body and existence.
Ron Mueck has revitalized contemporary figurative sculpture. Ron Mueck makes use of a rich diversity of sources such as press photographs, comic strips or historical masterpieces, Proustian memories or ancient fables and legends. Still Life (2009) fits into the classical ‘nature morte’ tradition, the Woman with Sticks (2008), bent backwards beneath her armful of wood, recalls tales of witchcraft. Drift (2009) and Youth (2009) seem to be inspired by newspaper headlines, although they also evoke works from the past. In other Ron Mueck sculptures like the big sleeping self-portrait, Mask II (2001-2002), dreams come bursting into reality.
This very private, creative process is revealed in a new film untitled Still Life: Ron Mueck at work, by Gautier Deblonde. A documentary has been produced for this exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. Shot daily in Ron Mueck’s studio as he produced the new works for the exhibition, this intimate film gives us a an incredible opportunity to observe the artists’s very personal creative process.
The exhibition Ron Mueck is organized with support from the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, under the aegis of the Fondation de France, and with the sponsorship of Cartier.