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The Hyperrealism of Ron Mueck on Display at the Triennale di Milano

The legend of the hyperrealist movement, Ron Mueck, shifts its venue from the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain to the Triennale di Milano, inaugurating the artist's first solo exhibition in Italy, curated by Charlie Clarke. From December 5, 2023, to March 10, 2024, visitors will have the opportunity to view the works of the renowned Australian artist, a selection of sculptures previously exhibited by the Parisian foundation until November 5 last year. This relocation strengthens the partnership between the two institutions, allowing the Italian public to engage with the colossal and astonishing sculptures of Ron Mueck (Melbourne, 1958; residing and working in the United Kingdom since 1986), always ready to astonish by erasing the boundaries between reality and imagination.


The exhibition's itinerary traces the sculptor's thirty-year career, encompassing the latest developments in Mueck's artistic practice. A highlight of the exhibition is the presence of Mass (2017), an impressive and controversial installation originating from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Displayed for the first time in Europe, this monumental installation consists of one hundred gigantic sculptures of human skulls, prompting visitors to reflect on fundamental themes such as the transience of human existence.

«Mass» (2017), di Ron Mueck. Parigi, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain. Cortesia della Galleria Nazionale di Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest 2018. Foto © Marc Domage
"Mass" (2017), di Ron Mueck. Parigi, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain. Cortesia della Galleria Nazionale di Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest 2018. Foto © Marc Domage

The title itself conceals a message; indeed, the English term "mass" can refer to multiple meanings, alluding to a "disordered heap" as well as a "religious function", serving as starting points for a deeply personal experience in which the viewer engages with the artwork bringing their own beliefs and socio-cultural identity.


The artist's growth is highlighted by works such as En Garde (2023) and This Little Piggy (work in progress, 2023). The former presents a spectacular group of dogs which are three meters in height, while the latter is an atypical, small-sized sculpture inspired by a passage from the novel Pig Earth (1979), a masterpiece by John Berger. In the exhibition rooms will take place a dialogue that involves contemporary works and those from the 2000s, such as Baby (2000), a newborn displayed as if it replaces the crucifix, and Woman with Stick (2009, Fondation Cartier collection), depicting a female figure with silky skin burdened by the weight of a bundle of branches on her shoulders.

«In Bed» (2005), di Ron Mueck. Parigi, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain. © Patrick Gries, Ron Mueck
"In Bed" (2005), di Ron Mueck. Parigi, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain. © Patrick Gries, Ron Mueck

The itinerary is not limited to history and poetics and aims to unveil the artist's secrets by analyzing his meticulous working method, which will be illustrated in a series of projections created specifically for the occasion. The films Still Life: Ron Mueck at Work (2013) and Three Dogs, a Pig and a Crow (2023) project visitors directly into the artist's studio, providing insight into the complex creative process that transforms works from the initial sketch stage to the technical virtuosity presented in the exhibition.


In the initial stages, Ron Mueck commences his artistic journey with sketches and models, while in the subsequent phases, he employs materials such as resin, fiberglass, and silicone during the sculpture process. This meticulous approach results in the creation of artworks that manifest an exceptionally lifelike and authentic presence. His attention to detail, such as skin wrinkles, fine hair, and facial expressions, makes his sculptures extraordinarily vibrant.


Ron Mueck's production challenges perception, deceives it, but only to lead it towards an empathic study of the human condition. Sometimes, it's necessary to shine a spotlight on a problem before becoming aware of its existence; thus, Mueck's magnifying lens on his subjects elevates them, laying bare their vulnerabilities: by exploring the beauty and complexity of the human body, he has an emotional impact on his viewers, leading them to reflect on the complexity of the human nature.




From December 5, 2023, to March 10, 2024,

Triennale di Milano

6, Emilio Alemagna street, Milan 20121

For more information: https://triennale.org/

Phone: +39 02724341

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