Ron Mueck: Hyperreal

10.09.2003 to 02.11.2003

Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart
Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart

For a long time, the undisguised gaze at the human body was considered sacrilegious. Realistic depictions of nudity could, however escape censure if clothed by a religious narrative - as with the Adam and Eve figures in the Ghent altar by Jan van Eyck. Modern art could no longer call on this innocence, and nudity acquired different connotations. The nudes of Manet, Munch, Beckmann and in the sculptures of Bruce Naumann or Duane Hanson become symbols of menace or of powerlessness.

The naked, lonely human being is the main focus of the Australian artist Ron Mueck. His hyper-realistic models of human figures are disturbing because of a forcefulness that outreaches any cabinet of waxworks. His figures are remodelled up to the hair tips and seem to be so much 'alive', that one is tempted to speak to them.

As part of the touring exhibition 'Sensations', they had already attracted international attention in 1997 and 1998. Since then, the artist has completed new sculptures, exhibited in Sydney and London and now in the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.

A naked man in a boat on great tour, a woman after giving birth to a baby, an old woman on her deathbed - these scenes, focusing on transitional situations in life, have considerable capacity to move us. Deliberate changes of scale point out that this is not the real world, but an artificial one, and the hyper-realism of the figures questions every classification. The boundaries between biology and sculpture, between nature and culture stay open.