The exhibition Ron Mueck has just finished at the National Gallery of Victoria, International Galleries, Melbourne.
The first room featured the sculpture "Dead Dad" that essentially kick started Muecks career as an artist when it was included in the controversial exhibition "Sensation".
"Dead Dad" is a 1/3 scale representation of Mueck's own father, deceased. There is no doubt about the absence of life in this sculpture, the pose, the upturned hands, the pallor- are all accurately, impassively recorded for the audience.
The audience in this room were quitely reverent and respectful around "Dead Dad"
The audience tone however quickly changed as we moved from the dimly lit room featuring the sole sculpture "Dead Dad" to the brighlty lit spaces featuring the other works in the exhibition.
Cameras were quickly out for the massive "A Girl" and crowds, which on the day I visited included many Victorian school children, moved joyously, noisily around the gallery spaces.
The final work in the exhibition is "Drift". Pinned to the wall against a sea of blue, the figure in "Drift" has a worried brow. Perhaps he is contemplating life, death, middle age?
What struck me was the cruciform reference createdby attaching the li-lo to the wall.
"Drift" could be the Messiah if he were a middle aged man in the 21st century.
Mueck is a master sculpture of middle age. He captures the paucity of skin, the wrinkled brow, the sagging belly, the faded colourful boardshorts of one trying to look hip and young.
This is a sculpture that for me places Mueck firmly as one of the great chroniclers of our age.
Photograph taken by Mrs Matthews-Art Teacher