Australian . He spent 20 years in Australian and British television and advertising, where he was already making the mannequins that he later adapted to sculptural purposes. Mueck took part in the exhibition Sensation
at the Royal Academy in 1997 with sculpture Dead Dad
(1996–7; London, Saatchi Gal.), an unsettling rendition of his own deceased father, half life-size. Made from memory, the sculpture became as much the focus for a strong emotional involvement as it was a mere object treated with Mueck's rigorous eye for detail. As the artist explained, the miniaturised proved a more emotionally involving depiction of death by compelling the beholder to ‘cradle' the corpse visually. Mueck sculpts in clay, makes a mould around it and finally replaces the clay with a mixture of fibreglass, silicone and ; the technical skill involved has often been foregrounded by critics to the detriment of its content. Such psychological density was evident in Ghost
(h. 2.02 m, 1998; London, Tate), a gigantic representation of an awkward teenage girl wearing a bathing suit and averting her gaze from the viewer. Such plays on scale are integral to the powerful effects of Mueck's figures. A colossal figure commissioned for the Millenium Dome in London in 2000 reiterated a similar issue. Tackling traditional themes such as self-portraiture or the age-old question of verisimilitude in art, Mueck applies skills more usually associated with theatrical or cinematic special effects, to engender a personal understanding of the art object.
Sensation (exh. cat., London, RA, 1997)
Mod. Painters, xi, 3, (Autumn 1998), pp. 20–3
Ant Noises, (exh. cat., London, Saatchi Gal., 2000)
10 December 2000