Artworld/Ron Mueck

In artworld, japan, ozstraylia on March 28, 2010 at 3:26 am

I sit in front of a red rectangular canvas, slightly uneven orange line bisects the red horizontally and at the left edge, the red paint doesn’t quite reach and uneven blocks of white black and blue are painted on. I like this painting, it makes me smile and I sit in front of it for at least five – ten mins. I’m still looking at it as I write this..

And looking at a painting/image/Installation for longer than a brief moment is a big thing for me, usually in and out of any exhibition, gallery within mins the painting is On The Way (1973) by john firth-smith

I’ve been to a few art galleries on my trip so far and I’ll be going to a load more as I go along especially when I hit New York, and probably if I can hack the hills some in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It’s kind of awe inspiring to see art works which you’ve only seen in books or as posters or prints in the flesh to get up close and look at them, breathe on them, peruse the brush strokes. And also in Japan as well as Melbourne take photos of them. Having a record of the artworks that you like, that move you, that get the brain moving and the heart pumping is quite special. I made the mistake of not asking at the gallery that I was in in Tokyo, where they had a mass of Rodin sculptures outside, whether I could take photo’s and it was only after taking copious notes for writing up later of what I felt about each painting, that I realized I could have taken photo’s of them.

So finally got to go to the Ron Mueck exhibition, which had been showing at the NVG in Melbourne and it was quite thrilling. The scale of things, and the realism with which they were finished, was truly incredible, the urge to touch his sculptures was almost overwhelming, the hairs on the backs of bearded mans legs, the bunch of branches that a woman struggles with, the clothes of the two old women. All of them seem to dare you to touch them with through their lifelike nature, but of course you can’t, even thought the sample piece of skin that you are asked to touch at the entrance to the exhibition feels weird and plasticky, it doesn’t stop the realistic nature of the sculptures fooling you into thinking that if you touch them they will be soft, and warm and fleshily human. What I found amazing was the range in scale, small made big, big made small, and how I as the audience reacted to it, trying to get as close as possible to see some minute detail or having to step back to put the size into context. A really fascinating exhibition, and even more fascinating that Mueck, worked for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and was a model maker/puppeteer on Labyrinth. I do wonder how he works, I’m of the opinion that he works alone, by himself, laboriously punching each hole for every single hair, rather than having an army of acolytes doing it for him. I could be wrong.

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