2Enduring Understanding Students will understand thatrealistic representation is selectedwith purpose and function toexpress ideas and concepts
3Essential Questions Overarching Questions How does realistic representation contribute to the ideas and purpose of artists?What are true reflections of life?How is visual art a mechanism for social change?Topical QuestionsIs reproducing from life art?Can reflections of life be distorted? How?
5Biographical Outline1958: Born in Melbourne, Australia to German parents.Worked as a model maker and puppeteer for a television and film productions.1980s: Moved to UK from Australia.1996: Dad died in Australia while he is in London.
6When (1958- ) Where (Australia & UK) In the late 1930s, acrylic and fiberglass were invented.WhereCharles Saatchi was the co-founder of the global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. Charles is an avid art collector and owner of the Saatchi Gallery in London for contemporary art. He is also the sponsor for the YBAs (Young Bristish Artists) like Damien Hirst.
7Which Hyperrealism/Photorealism A genre of painting and sculpture that look photographic.Hyperrealism as a movement, it is a splinter derivation from photorealism.Photorealism is a realistic painting approach that includes the reproduction of details.As a result, the painting looks almost photographic.Photographs are usually used as a reference.Some other artists- Chuck Close, Duane Hanson and Richard Estes.
8What Subject Matter – Figures He explores the perception of space the body occupies by playing with the size and postures of his sculptures.The size of the figures are usually distorted for dramatic effects- eg: how an unusually gigantic pregnant woman with her colossal tummy at viewer’s eye level plays up the importance of life and birth.They are usually over-sized or under-sized, never life-size. This is because life-size figures do not interest him as we see them everyday around us.His figures are fashioned to the point of super-realism with meticulous details such as moles, veins, wrinkles, etc, all accurately rendered.They are flawlessly perfect- inviting close-up scrutiny with disbelief.¹ Clement Greenberg-
9What Subject Matter- Figures Some critics deem his works like those of mannequins or wax figures but Mueck contends by employing dramatic distortions of size and awkward postures with the intention to highlight emotional states to his subjects.Such distortions can also endow his subjects with psychological intent- eg: Boy, 1999.His subjects are based on his friends and relatives.¹ Clement Greenberg-
10His Under-Sized Figures This is the sculpture thatpropelled Mueck to fame.Dead Dad,Silicone and acrylic, 20 x 38 x 102 cmThe Saatchi Gallery
11What- Dead Dad A naked corpse of an old man lying flat on his back. It is a rendition of Mueck’s own deceased father.It is made from the artist’s memory, and half the size of a life-size figure.The size is intended for the viewer to “cradle the corpse visually” (Verdier, 2006).The impact- seemingly real and yet unreal.It adheres to the anatomical detail.
12His Over-Sized Figures Mask , 1997.Mixed Media, 158 x 153 x 124 cm
13His Over-Sized Figures Boy, 1999.Mixed media, 490 x 490 x 240 cm
14His Over-Sized Figures Boy, 1999.Mixed media, 490 x 490 x 240 cm
15How- BoyHe begins work with a small clay study, and makes a plaster maquette from it.The maquette is then sliced into horizontal sections.The sections are used as templatesand scaled up onto huge polystyreneblocks with hot wires.These giant slices are piled back toform the boy.The artist and his team refine it withknives and wire brushes.¹ In a live model setting, artists use techniques like foreshortening and lighting to reproduce the 3-D quality and thus bringing the subject to life. However, these techniques are not used by photo-realists because the proportion, light and shadow are already captured mechanically in a photograph and therefore what is left for the artists to do is to transfer the subject directly onto another flat material.
16How- BoyThe polystyrene body is then given a coat of plastolene (a sticky synthetic wax).This plastolene needs to be “meltedand painted on and smoothed withlong, flexible blades”, before it canperform with the details and textureof the skin.Finally, he begins to create a mouldwith the figure in sections off thesurface, “building a patchwork”around the figure.
17How- BoyA layer of silicone is painted first to pick up the detail of the surface.This is supported with more layers of resin and fiberglass.He then mixes polyester resin in flesh tones and painted inside each sections.He ensures to include the variations which are visible on the skin- eg: “mottled (spotted or patched) skin, pinker knees and elbows, paler nails.”The sections were then released from the moulds and reassembled into the boy with seams sanded smooth.
18How- BoyThe sculpture is then touched up with other details like rosy highlights and faint bluish veins.The hair is constructed with thick strands of acrylic fiber, “fixed to the head with woven strips”.The eyebrows and eyelashesare individually sanded into atapered end.Individual moulds are createdfor the eyes before casting themwith polyester resin.
19His Over-Sized Figures Ghost, 1998Fibreglass, silicon, polyurethane foam, acrylic fibre and fabric, x 64.8 x 99.1 cmTate Gallery, London.Her large scale and uneasinesshighlights a sense of teenage anxiety.
20His Over-Sized Figures Big Man, 2000.Pigmented polyester on resin,203.2 x x cm.Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
21Pigmented polyester on resin, 203.2 x 120.7 x 204.5 cm. His Over-Sized FiguresBig Man, 2000.Pigmented polyester on resin, x x cm.
22Pigmented polyester on resin, 203.2 x 120.7 x 204.5 cm. How- Big ManBig Man, 2000.Pigmented polyester on resin, x x cm.
24Fibreglass, resin and silicone, National Gallery of Australia His Over-Sized FiguresPregnant Woman, 2002.Fibreglass, resin and silicone,National Gallery of AustraliaCheck it out at
25Fibreglass, resin and silicone, National Gallery of Australia His Over-Sized FiguresPregnant Woman, 2002.Fibreglass, resin and silicone,National Gallery of Australia
26What- Pregnant WomanIt is a portrayal of motherhood- boasting strong reference with fertility, life and birth.Her size illustrates the immense significance of her pregnancy as well as her vulnerability and emotional intensity as seen in her face.The colossal tummy and expression on her face communicates to the viewers the immense weight (can also be interpreted as responsibility) the woman bears.As a viewer confronted with the tummy, the physicality and burden of child-bearing becomes even more pertinent.Her size can also be allegorical of omnificent (magnificent) Mother Earth.
27Untitled (Head of a Baby), 2003. His Over-Sized FiguresUntitled (Head of a Baby), 2003.Mixed Media,
28His Over-Sized Figures Mask III, 2005.Mixed Media,
29In Bed, 2005. His Over-Sized Figures Mixed media, x x 395 cm
30His Over-Sized Figures In Bed, 2005.Mixed media, x x 395 cm
31Oil-based ink on canvas, 259 x 213.4 cm His Over-Sized FiguresA Girl, 2006.Oil-based ink on canvas, 259 x cm
32His Over-Sized Figures A Girl, 2006.Mixed media,
33Silicone rubber and mixed media, His Under-Sized FiguresAngel, 1997.Silicone rubber and mixed media,110 x 87 x 81 cm
34What- AngelThe naked figure of a man with a pair of wings which are made with goose feathers.He is pensive and the pose appears a little melancholic.It’s source of inspiration came from Tiepolo’s Allegory with Venus and Time from the National Gallery.Mueck was inspired to create his own winged character.
35Why- Angel (His Influence) Giovanni Battista Tiepolo ( )Born in Venice Italy.He was both a painter and a printmaker.He was Europe’s outstanding master of the Grand Manner.His art- imaginative and changing the world of ancient history and myth, scriptures and legends into grand theatrical proportions.He also did frescos.Allegory with Venus and Time, cby Giovanni Battista TiepoloOil on canvas, 292 x 190 cm.
36Untitled (Seated Woman), 1999. His Under-Sized FiguresUntitled (Seated Woman), 1999.Mixed media, 64.1 x 43.2 x 41.9 cm
45Why His Background Mueck’s parents were toy makers. He spent 20 years in Australian and British television and advertising. He was first making models and puppets for a children’s television and film production. One example of the film he was involved with was Labyrinth featuring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie and Jim Henson’s series The Story Tellers.He later established his own company in London making hyper-realistic props for advertising.
46WhyDuring this time, his sculptures were only highly realistic from the angle of filming, which gave him the urge to create sculptures that can be filmed from all angles.That was when he made the transition to fine arts and began collaborating with his mother-in-law who was also an artist.Mueck demands high standard of craftsmanship for his own works to the point of perfection.
47HowMeuck does not cast directly from his subjects and he does not rely on assistants unless necessary.He usually uses photographs and anatomical textbooks as references.He starts with small clay maquettes to decide on the position of the figure.He then creates drawings in different sizes to decide on the scale of the actual work.Next, he sculpts the figure in clay over a metal armature for huge works, which includes details like facial expression and skin texture.The armature functions like the skeleton of the body. It is a structure that supports an outer covering of material, eg: clay.
48HowHe applies a coat of shellac (like varnish) to the clay to keep it from drying.He then makes a plaster mould around it because clay is a transient material. It deteriorates and disintegrates when dry. Therefore plaster is used because it is more permanent.Using the mould, the sculpture is then cast with a mixture of fibre-glass, silicone and resin.He finishes the figure with meticulous details such as veins and skin tones by painting them in.Although his sculptures are proportionately accurate, they are either under-sized or over-sized.Mueck’s approach can be deemed as a traditional way.
49How Materials Fibreglass It is a component of thin glass fibre mixed with resin. It is used because it is extremely light but tough and hard-wearing.Polyester ResinIt is a “synthetic liquid chemical product which sets hard with the addition of a catalyst (something that makes it hard).” Careful and exact measurement is essential when using this medium. Fiberglass is usually added to this material for extra strength.SiliconeIt is a rubber-like material that is firstly liquid in state but turns rubbery and sticky when set. Thus, it picks up textures extremely well.
50References Mueck, R. (2001). Boy. Anthony d’Offay Gallery: London. Plowman, J. (1995). The Encyclopedia of Sculpting Techniques. Headline Book Publishing: Great Britain.