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Ron Mueck

29 June - 17 November 2024

Voorlinden is proud to present the largest retrospective of Ron Mueck ever. Thanks to his unprecedented craftsmanship and incredible attention to detail, the Australian-born artist creates stunningly realistic and intimate sculptures that convey universal human experiences and feelings. At Voorlinden you can see both very early and his most recent work, often monumentally large or surprisingly small. In the works, you will discover that Mueck is not only a great sculptor, but also an astute observer of our emotions.


Booking a start time required
The following applies to a museum visit during Ron Mueck’s exhibition:
– Booking a ticket with a start time is required.
– A ticket gives access to all exhibitions and highlights. You can stay until the museum closes.
– The exhibition is very large and therefore expensive. This is why a surcharge of €2.50 is applied on regular admission prices, except for children under 12.


 

The retrospective at Voorlinden provides an important overview of the artistic development of Ron Mueck. Within a career span of a little over 25 years, he has dealt with various everyday and universal themes such as birth and death, adolescence and aging. On display, for instance, is Big Baby II (1996-97), part of Voorlinden’s collection, which Ron Mueck made in his early years as an autonomous artist. Although often presenting solitary figures, several sculptures also explore the relationship between two or more. A classic example is the elderly couple from Couple under an Umbrella (2013), also part of the collection of Voorlinden.

Ron Mueck: ‘Although I spend a lot of time on the surface, it’s the life inside I want to capture.’

In Bed, 2005 | 162 x 650 x 395 cm | Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain | Photo: Gautier Deblonde

From feeling to form
Despite his relatively small oeuvre – 48 works in total – Ron Mueck’s work is well-known and much-loved. In his breathtakingly realistic sculptures, he uses scale to highlight certain states of being or specific emotions. In this way they remain convincingly lifelike, no matter how small or monumental in size. Man in Blankets (2000), for instance, shows an adult the size of a swaddled baby appearing to be hiding from the world, while the almost 7-metre-long woman of In Bed (2005) draws the viewer in to consider thoughts in which she seem lost. More recently, Mueck has focused more on form, composition and gesture, revealing more dynamism and tension in his work. This is evident in the confrontation of his most recent work En Garde (2023), and also the room-filling installation Mass (2016-17), where the audience explores a memento mori landscape of a hundred giant skulls, each over a metre in height.

Suzanne Swarts, director Voorlinden: ‘Mueck has a small oeuvre, is enormously popular and many works are on permanent display in museums. So it is really special that we managed to bring these works together to create to the biggest retrospective ever.’

Mass, 2017 | National Gallery of Victoria | Photo: © Gianluca Di Ioia

Rare insight into artist’s studio
The exhibition at Voorlinden includes two films by the French photographer and filmmaker Gautier Deblonde: the award-winning Still Life: Ron Mueck at Work (2013) and more recent Three Dogs, a Pig and a Crow (2023). Deblonde’s close working relationship with Ron Mueck and his continual documentation of sculptures in progress ensures that both films provide a rare insight into the studio life of the artist.

Barbara Bos, head of exhibitions: ‘Ron Mueck is a masterful sculptor. He really breathes life into his sculptures, and this is also true for his more recent monochrome work. His work confronts you, hits you instantly, even when he moves beyond the realistic.’

About the artist
Ron Mueck (1958) grew up in a German family in Melbourne, Australia. His mother made dolls and early in his career he worked as a puppet maker and performer, including on The Muppet Show and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth (1986). Subsequently, he sculpted models for the film, TV and advertising industries. Thanks to a collaboration with his mother-in-law, the world-renowned painter Paula Rego, he took his first steps into the art world at a relatively late age in 1996 and was immediately recognized. His first solo exhibition soon followed, as well as a residency at the National Gallery in London. He has presented solo exhibitions in some of the world’s most important museums, and his work is included in the collections of prominent institutions, including Tate Modern, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and Hirshhorn Museum. Mueck lives and works in the UK.

Baby, 2000 | 26 x 21,1 x 5,3 cm | ZAMU Amsterdam | Photo: © Gianluca Di Ioia

Special bond with Voorlinden
Museum Voorlinden collects, presents, keeps, manages, conserves, restores and publishes modern and contemporary art, both on its own premises and elsewhere. The museum is a meeting place and an oasis of tranquility in the hectic Randstad, positioned in Wassenaar, between the bustle of Amsterdam and The Hague. The museum has a long and close relationship with Ron Mueck and three of his works are part of the collection: Big Baby II (1996-97), Man in Blankets (2000), and Couple under an Umbrella (2013), which is permanently on display as one of the museum’s highlights.


Header image: Ron Mueck, Couple under an Umbrella, 2013- Collection museum Voorlinden