Art News & Views

The Pause of Profound Stillness

by  Rumi Banerjee

“When life sank down for a moment the range of experience seemed limitless.”-Virginia Woolf
“There's no more pain,
You can go on with your life,
And not feel so drained.”

When consciousness drowns.....we grope in the dark and avoid speech, a cry against the helplessness freezes inside the throat. Those lines of pain, horror and blood stains all over the face, those scars ...that frozen little heart and a brain inside, that refused to perform, that half open eye with a blank yet fixed piercing gaze, those pursed and curved lips that can speak so loud even with a language of silence, yet so timid so self conscious and alone.

After seeing The Giant Baby I felt a strange speak to it; I wish it could hear me... I know it is dead....but I can still say “Yes of course! There will still be a tomorrow, the birds will sing, it's winter and it's so cold....and... a foggy sun will peep out from the morning sky.... then there will be warmth of life, and life will be beautiful.......” I felt a pause of profound stillness. And Ron Mueck “takes one to the very edge of the idea of life”. In his works the eyes possess unusual emotional power and his life-like sculptures adopts human character that rise above the regular sphere of human life.

Ron Mueck born in Melbourne, to parents who were toy makers, he laboured on children's television shows for 15 years before working in special effects for films as “Labyrinth,” a 1986 fantasy epic. Mueck said, “I never made life-size figures because it never seemed to be interesting. We meet life-size people every day.” Although Mueck's works are always either outsized or smaller than life, they're still shockingly realistic. His figures in fibre glass appear to be breathing: every facet veins, wrinkles, moles, skin tone, body hair, rashes, saliva is crafted to such precision that the consequence outstandingly leads to a 'willing suspension of disbelief' and at the same time deeply troubling. “Although I spend a lot of time on the surface, it's the life inside I want to capture.” (Ron Mueck, 1998).

Though “hyper-realistic” in nature, Mueck rarely used live models. As for the detailing, he uses mirrors. He used anatomy texts (Lockhart's Living Anatomy), photos, his own memory and imagination. He adopts a rigorous process of selection and clarification. He successfully renders human soul in his creation which resulted in real life characters.

His The Two Women inspire me to visualise a foggy Westminster Bridge in London, and my dear Mrs Woolf and Mrs Dalloway exchanging dialogues while going for a stroll, their sunken eyes, wrinkled face and hair that nearly merged with the dense fog...their introspective cynical look, with a hint of hidden amusement, faces eroded by the waves of life as if a sandy sea beach....hiding shells under the skin, refusing to speak.

Finally another of Mueck's works titled Man in Blankets where we see the aged bald headed human figure with closed eyes wrapped in blankets as if a life inside a cocoon symbolizing all the being and hurry....the fret...the expansion of existence, love, fear, and hatred evaporated and one shrunk with a sense of detachment to being oneself, sinking in the core of darkness, invisible to others. Merging so, when darkness will run through one's veins enough to spill out like ink from the corners of the mouth. “Fear no more the heat of the sun/Nor the furious winter rages..../And if it were now to die....” to be silent, to be alone.


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