Ron Mueck: mass
NGV Australia & The Ian Potter Center – Until Jan 15, 2023 Melbourne (Australia)
Born in Australia, Ron Mueck has been creating hyper-realistic figurative sculptures since his debut as an artist in 1997. His work is known for his attention to detail, choice of subjects and use of scale.
Originally commissioned for the 2017 NGV Triennial, Mass, which includes 100 large-scale resin sculptures of the human skull, is a momentous and confronting work.
Throughout history, the skull has been a powerful symbol in the aesthetic lexicon of almost every culture. It features prominently in Renaissance art. Particularly in the Dutch still life and vanitas tradition of the 16th and 17th centuries, where the skull represents the ephemeral. The skull has also been used in other ways. In the skull and crossbones of the pirate Jolly Roger, and as a sign of Halloween and Day of the Dead.
In a contemporary context, the Mass has a particular resonance. As the world grapples with enormous and increasingly intense challenges. The atrocity of war, pestilence, climate change, floods, fires and famine. It is a poignant monument for our times.
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