I went to the Manchester Art Gallery today for the new exhibition by the series of Artist Rooms. Ron Mueck my favorite contemporary artist. His work includes all this insane realistic wax sculptures of human figures at the most intimate and vulnerable moments. Most of them are not in proportion so you are faced with an extremely tall vulnerable man on a stool. The "wild man" is so scared that he grips the seat and his toes are pressing on to the floor. You see and sense fear, extreme anxiety and vulnerability. Although he is 3 metres tall he is intimidated by us almost expecting some sympathy, instead we are also intimidated by him.
"Wild man" 2005
On a small plinth at the corner of the room i could see a couple of figurines no more than 65 cm long in a lying position. A man and a woman "spooning", the guy is naked waist down and the woman is naked waist up. In a foetal position, her body fitting into the hollow of his body. I was standing above and I felt like an intruder at this intimate moment. The expressions on their faces and especially in their eyes show them to be deep in their own separate worlds. His left eye almost catched my own gaze. At that moment I realised that he is looking back at me, a really weird experience. For a split second, the sculptures are disturbingly real and I was a voyeur.
"Spooning couple" 2005
In the middle of the room on the wall an oversized face of a lady. Its the "Mask" the third piece of the series, the first two were self portraits. Apparently shortly before he made 'Mask III', Mueck had visited an exhibition containing a number of sculptures of the Buddha. With this particular piece he attempted to capture some of the inner peace and serenity of those Buddhas. The head is as round and calming as a the moon. Its symmetry is almost enhanced by the lack of a body.
"Mask III" 2005
While I was intrigued by Mueck extreme attention to detail I saw a child on the floor sitting against the wall, I had to look at it twice and for a while to realise that this one is real and he was breathing, made me laugh he did capture the vulnerability of Mueck's work.