been there, bought the tee-shirt

been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt

Ron Mueck at Hauser & Wirth

Woman with sticks, 2008

On Saturday, I visited the Ron Mueck exhibition at the Hauser & Wirth gallery.

I have a soft spot for Mueck. His first break was in the world of film - as the protege of Jim Henson, he created the special effects and puppets for Labyrinth.

Unlike his (considerably larger in every way) 2006 exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy, this was a small (and arguably perfectly formed) collection of just four pieces. And when I say small, I mean tiny. With the exception of a ginormous plucked chicken suspended by its legs from the gallery ceiling, the rest of the works were in miniature, the tiniest being a 65cm-tall sculpture of a youth with a knife-wound.

Still, the impeccable attention to detail was visible in these comparably miniature models, achieving a life-like resemblance to the point where you wonder whether they are indeed alive. I could have sworn the naked woman carrying a bundle of sticks more than twice her own height momentarily trembled under their weight. The skin of his figures is eerily realistic, and their appearance only intensified by Mueck’s use of human hair, placed meticulously strand by strand on heads, legs and nether regions.