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Hyperrealist sculpture that keeps up with its neighbours.
Until his mid-30s, Australian-born sculptor Ron Mueck was a big-screen special effects wizard working on films like Labyrinth (1986), an unholy communion between the Muppets and David Bowie. No wonder he turned to fine art for his living. And thank god he did.
It was his grotesquely beautiful sculpture Dead Dad, a perfect little replica of his fatherís corpse lying on the floor at the Royal Academyís 1997 Britart extravaganza Sensation, which first convinced the world of his crossover. Two years later, the National Gallery commissioned him to create a series of new works inspired by their collection. Hence the four extraordinary sculptures now on show in the Sunley Room, until 22 June 03.
At first, itís the sheer technical brilliance of the figures that astounds. From the stubble on the chin of the small Man In A Boat to the mole on the neck of the 8ft-tall Pregnant Woman, the attention to detail is awe inspiring. But the real power is in the way Mueck plays with scale. His work is lifelike but not lifesize, brilliantly undermining your perception of the everyday.
Itís pretty tough exhibiting at the National Gallery, alongside the likes of Van Gogh and Velazquez, but Mueck more than keeps up with the company. Jonathan Carter 04 April 03
Ron Mueck, at The National Gallery until 22 June 03.
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