Australian artist Ron Mueck is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 19, 2014. The exhibition is displaying 9 sculptures for the first time in Brazil until June 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA

Ron Mueck (1) Ron Mueck (2) Ron Mueck (3) Ron Mueck (4) Ron Mueck (5) Ron Mueck (6) Ron Mueck (7) Ron Mueck (8) Ron Mueck (9) Ron Mueck (10)

For over four years we have wished to exhibit the works of Ron Mueck, an Australian hyperrealist sculptor, who lives and works in Great Britain. The artist uses cinema and incredibly realistic special effects to create his works – sculptures that reproduce the details of the human body with such great precision that, were it not for size, they would be mistaken for real people.

When Hervé told me that Ron Mueck had been invited to show his new sculpture at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, in April 2013, I took the idea to Adriana Rosenberg, Director of Fundación Proa, our partner in important exhibitions, and to Bruno Assami, who is always involved in our projects.  Both are great admirers of Ron Mueck´s work. We presented the project to Organização Techint | Tenaris, our sponsor and one of the major promoters of culture in Argentina and Brazil, and they immediately embraced it.

In addition to six important recent sculptures, the exhibition includes three that were produced especially for this event. A new film documenting their creation was made by Gautier Deblonde for this occasion. Revealing the reclusive artist at work further emphasizes the sensitivity and power of Ron Mueck’s sculpture and highlights its particular significance in our days.

Early in his career, Mueck created puppets and props for TV as well as children’s films. Later, he founded his own company, in London, and worked in advertising. The artist´s objective is to create sculptures that are increasingly realistic. He plays with scale to produce visual images that are larger than life.

The exhibition opened in April 2013, at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, in Paris, receiving over 300,000 visitors, and then at the Fundación Proa, in Buenos Aires. It now arrives at the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, closing its exhibition cycle in June. We are certain that it will be a great success of public and critique, and one of the most important exhibitions of recent years.

Finally, I would once again like to thank Organização Techint | Tenaris and all the collectors who loaned works for this exhibition; as well as Hervé Chandès, General Director of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and Grazia Quaroni, curator; our sponsors and partners, the staff at MAM, Charlie Clark and all those who helped make this exhibition a reality, and our special thanks also to Anthony d’Offay.

Carlos Alberto Gouvêa Chateaubriand

President of the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro

In 2013, Ron Mueck was invited to exhibit his sculptures at Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain inParis. That exhibit was showcased in its entirety at Fundación Proa, inBuenos Aires,Argentina, and is now shown at the Museu de Arte Moderna de Rio de Janeiro. A Ron Mueck exhibition is a rare event. Based in London, Ron Mueck has had highly acclaimed exhibitions around the world from Japan to Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, but shows of his new work in Europe have not been frequent occurrences. Mueck works slowly in his smallNorth Londonstudio, making time itself an important element in his creative process. His human figures are meticulously detailed, with surprising changes of scale that place them as far from academic realism as they are from pop art or hyperrealism.

Three new sculptures are exhibited in this context for the first time: two teenagers in the street, a mother and baby and an elderly couple on the beach. They seem to be frozen moments of life, each capturing the relationship between two human beings. The nature of their connection to each other is revealed by their actions, small, ordinary, yet intriguing. The precision of their gestures, the true-to-life rendering of their flesh, the suggestion of suppleness in their skin makes them seem completely real. These works describe situations which are imaginary but their obsession with truth indicates an artist in search of perfection and with an acute sensibility to form and material. By pushing likeness to its limits Mueck creates works that are secret, meditative and mysterious.

Illuminating universal truths. These subjects that appear so ordinary also radiate a spirituality and profound humanity that provokes a response. Aiming well beyond the traditions of portraiture Mueck reveals the uncanny nature of our relationship to body and existence.

Ron Mueck has revitalized contemporary figurative sculpture. Ron Mueck makes use of a rich diversity of sources such as press photographs, comic strips or historical masterpieces, Proustian memories or ancient fables and legends. Still Life (2009) fits into the classical ‘nature morte’ tradition, the Woman with Sticks (2008), bent backwards beneath her armful of wood, recalls tales of witchcraft. Drift (2009) and Youth (2009) seem to be inspired by newspaper headlines, although they also evoke works from the past. In other Ron Mueck sculptures like the big sleeping self-portrait, Mask II (2001-2002), dreams come bursting into reality.

This very private, creative process is revealed in a new film untitled Still Life: Ron Mueck at Work, by Gautier Deblonde. A documentary has been produced for this exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. Shot daily in Ron Mueck’s studio as he produced the new works for the exhibition, this intimate film gives us an incredible opportunity to observe the artists’s very personal creative process.

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