When I first saw a picture of Ron Mueck's sculpture of 'two women' in a magazine, I'll admit, they gave me the creeps. They were just a little too real, a little too lifelike for me, and maybe even a little too ugly! I know, you would think that lifelike is the intention (and surely it is), but the expressions of the two old women was plotting, if not nasty, and I just didn't like them.
A couple of years later, and yesterday I find myself eyeball to eyeball with the same old women, but find their stature rather less intimidating. They are less than 3 feet tall. And up close and personal (though I still feel they are up to no good), the detail and their lifelike features are too incredible not to be impressed.
You could get up close and look at the tiniest of details and wonder at the creation and observation of the artist. The temptation to touch was hard to resist, as it was sometimes difficult to believe these sculptures weren't more than just resin and hair. Mueck did not attempt to hide the realities of life. There were wrinkles and blemishes and hair in noses, and expressions that told of the strains and pressures of life. He chose to get straight to the point and capture people, spots and all. Sometimes in such vulnerable poses or situations that I couldn't bare to look for more than a moment.
You could take photos (though not with a flash) and I was happy to have captured the one of 'wild man' with the gallery security in the edge of the pic, just to show the scale.
If you can, go and see this exhibition. It is on at the NGV until the 18th of April and is worth a visit. And while you're there, watch how other visitors interact with the sculptures, they are almost as fascinating as the sculptures themselves.