Teachers Lesson Plans

Real Life - Guy Ben-Ner and Ron Mueck

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What is the creative process of the artist?

When looking at a Ron Mueck's work, what is striking is the hyperrealism of his sculptures. They have a magical, lifelike quality which gives them a mysterious presence.

Each sculpture is made by the artist in his studio with only limited help for larger works. This method of "hands on" production is laborious and time-consuming and also quite rare, as sculptors past and present often have assistants or outside persons involved in some stage of moulding or casting.

From the earliest conception to the readying of casting, the artist's process is methodical. He often begins by deciding the exact pose of his subject through a series of small maquettes or studies, after which he decides on the scale through preparatory drawings.

While the maquettes and studies relate strongly to the finished work, the position of the legs and arms may differ dramatically. In each case, the viewer gains a strong sense of how ideas and material process are linked throughout the production of Mueck's sculptures.

Look, for example, at Study for "A Girl". In the study, the newborn is lying on her side, arms and legs slightly bent, body relaxed. We could imagine that she is sleeping. Now compare this with A Girl. The subject is the same but the body language could not be more different. In the finished large-scale work, the tense, rigid posture of the body, the aggressively clenched fists and the angry expression of the face with its one open eye glaring at the onlooker seem to radiate combativeness. It look as if the little girl is about to enter a world where she has to be ready for the worst and where people are not to be trusted.