Untitled (Big Man)

Ron Mueck, Untitled (Big Man), 2000

Before establishing himself as a sculptor in London in the mid-1990s, Ron Mueck had a twenty-year career as a professional puppet-maker and puppeteer in Australia and as a model-maker for Australian and British media. His works are typically made by creating clay models/forms that are then cast in silicone or polyester. The artist often shrinks or inflates the scale of his shockingly real figures of babies, children, and men; here the seated figure is nearly seven feet high.

For Untitled (Big Man), Mueck used an airbrush to apply the final smooth layer of paint, which convincingly resembles human flesh. In addition to being an exploration of anatomy and illusionism, Untitled (Big Man) is a study in color; blue eyes and veins contrast with the yellow undertones of hairless pink skin. Mueck’s sculpture, unlike the classical nudes of Ancient Greece and the European Renaissance, which celebrate human beauty and proportions, presents the viewer with a monumental yet unidealized version of the human body that emphasizes its physical presence, fleshiness, and weight.

Stéphane Aquin on Ron Mueck’s Untitled (Big Man)