MUECK, Ron; In bed
Australian-born, London-based artist Ron Mueck is among the most prominent sculptors working today. Prior to becoming a
visual artist, Mueck was a successful and sought-after model maker for film, television and advertising. In the mid 1990s, he
began to adapt many of the techniques learnt as a commercial model maker to produce figurative sculptures. His exceptional
talent was quickly recognised by the American art critic Robert Rosenblum, who in 1997 described Mueck’s work as ‘something
both so shockingly real and so shockingly unreal that, like an unexpected trauma, it left an indelible imprint’. From his earliest
works, Mueck demonstrated an extraordinary facility for achieving a naturalistic surface on his sculptures, as well as an interest in
manipulating scale, to affect the viewer in surprising ways.
Mueck’s sculptures often appear suspended in states of contemplation or introspection. Eyes open, but focused inwards, his figures seem disengaged from the world around them but have the uncanny ability to communicate to the viewer a rich and complex picture of what is taking place inside their heads. The subject of In bed reclines in such a way that her face is at approximately the same level as that of a standing viewer, providing an ideal vantage point from which to study her expression and ponder her state of mind. One may at first be taken aback by the scale of the work and its startlingly naturalistic appearance, but this response is ultimately tempered by the unspectacular nature of the subject. While In bed is a physically impressive work, the frozen instant of solitary reflection that it depicts is a small, everyday moment with which the viewer can identify and empathise.