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Realistic Representation

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Presentation on theme: "Realistic Representation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Realistic Representation
Ron Mueck

2 Enduring Understanding
Students will understand that realistic representation is selected with purpose and function to express ideas and concepts

3 Essential 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 Questions Is reproducing from life art? Can reflections of life be distorted? How?

4 5W1H

5 Biographical Outline 1958: 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.

6 When (1958- ) Where (Australia & UK)
In the late 1930s, acrylic and fiberglass were invented. Where Charles 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.

7 Which 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.

8 What 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-

9 What 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-

10 His Under-Sized Figures
This is the sculpture that propelled Mueck to fame. Dead Dad, Silicone and acrylic, 20 x 38 x 102 cm The Saatchi Gallery

11 What- 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.

12 His Over-Sized Figures
Mask , 1997. Mixed Media, 158 x 153 x 124 cm

13 His Over-Sized Figures
Boy, 1999. Mixed media, 490 x 490 x 240 cm

14 His Over-Sized Figures
Boy, 1999. Mixed media, 490 x 490 x 240 cm

15 How- Boy He 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 templates and scaled up onto huge polystyrene blocks with hot wires. These giant slices are piled back to form the boy. The artist and his team refine it with knives 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.

16 How- Boy The polystyrene body is then given a coat of plastolene (a sticky synthetic wax). This plastolene needs to be “melted and painted on and smoothed with long, flexible blades”, before it can perform with the details and texture of the skin. Finally, he begins to create a mould with the figure in sections off the surface, “building a patchwork” around the figure.

17 How- Boy A 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.

18 How- Boy The 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 eyelashes are individually sanded into a tapered end. Individual moulds are created for the eyes before casting them with polyester resin.

19 His Over-Sized Figures
Ghost, 1998 Fibreglass, silicon, polyurethane foam, acrylic fibre and fabric, x 64.8 x 99.1 cm Tate Gallery, London. Her large scale and uneasiness highlights a sense of teenage anxiety.

20 His Over-Sized Figures
Big Man, 2000. Pigmented polyester on resin, 203.2 x x cm. Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

21 Pigmented polyester on resin, 203.2 x 120.7 x 204.5 cm.
His Over-Sized Figures Big Man, 2000. Pigmented polyester on resin, x x cm.

22 Pigmented polyester on resin, 203.2 x 120.7 x 204.5 cm.
How- Big Man Big Man, 2000. Pigmented polyester on resin, x x cm.

23 His Over-Sized Figures
Mask II, Mixed Media,

24 Fibreglass, resin and silicone, National Gallery of Australia
His Over-Sized Figures Pregnant Woman, 2002. Fibreglass, resin and silicone, National Gallery of Australia Check it out at

25 Fibreglass, resin and silicone, National Gallery of Australia
His Over-Sized Figures Pregnant Woman, 2002. Fibreglass, resin and silicone, National Gallery of Australia

26 What- Pregnant Woman It 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.

27 Untitled (Head of a Baby), 2003.
His Over-Sized Figures Untitled (Head of a Baby), 2003. Mixed Media,

28 His Over-Sized Figures
Mask III, 2005. Mixed Media,

29 In Bed, 2005. His Over-Sized Figures
Mixed media, x x 395 cm

30 His Over-Sized Figures
In Bed, 2005. Mixed media, x x 395 cm

31 Oil-based ink on canvas, 259 x 213.4 cm
His Over-Sized Figures A Girl, 2006. Oil-based ink on canvas, 259 x cm

32 His Over-Sized Figures
A Girl, 2006. Mixed media,

33 Silicone rubber and mixed media,
His Under-Sized Figures Angel, 1997. Silicone rubber and mixed media, 110 x 87 x 81 cm

34 What- Angel The 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.

35 Why- 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, c by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo Oil on canvas, 292 x 190 cm.

36 Untitled (Seated Woman), 1999.
His Under-Sized Figures Untitled (Seated Woman), 1999. Mixed media, 64.1 x 43.2 x 41.9 cm

37 His Under-Sized Figures
Spooning Couple, 2005 Mixed media,

38 His Under-Sized Figures
Spooning Couple, 2005 Mixed media,

39 His Under-Sized Figures
Two Women, 2005. Mixed media, 85.1 x 47.9 x 38.1 cm

40 Two Women, 2005. Mixed media, 85.1 x 47.9 x 38.1 cm
His Under-Sized Figures Two Women, 2005. Mixed media, 85.1 x 47.9 x 38.1 cm

41 Mother and Child, 2001. Mixed Media, 24.1 x 88.9 x 38.1cm
His Under-Sized Figures Mother and Child, 2001. Mixed Media, 24.1 x 88.9 x 38.1cm James Cohan Gallery

42 Untitled (Man In Blankets), 2000.
His Under-Sized Figures Untitled (Man In Blankets), 2000. Mixed Media, 43.2 x 59.7 x 71.1 cm

43 His Under-Sized Figures
Man In Boat, 2002. Mixed Media, 75 cm high

44 His Under-Sized Figures
Swaddled Baby, 2002. Mixed Media,

45 Why 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.

46 Why During 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.

47 How Meuck 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.

48 How He 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.

49 How 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 Resin It 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. Silicone It 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.

50 References Mueck, R. (2001). Boy. Anthony d’Offay Gallery: London.
Plowman, J. (1995). The Encyclopedia of Sculpting Techniques. Headline Book Publishing: Great Britain.

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