Australian artist Ron Mueck has unveiled his largest installation ever with Mass, a collection of 100 monumental hand-cast skulls. Commissioned specially for the National Gallery of Victoria's International Triennial, the imposing and ominous skulls pour through the galleries, each skull artfully placed into a tumbling mass.
Mueck, known for his hyperrealistic sculptures, forgoes his typically obsessive detail in bringing to life his hyperrealistic sculpture by focusing on what remains long after our bodies have decayed. “Mass intrudes into the 18th Century Galleries like a glacier inching across a landscape, crowding out the powdered, bewigged lords and ladies, a reminder of all our fates,” the artist shares.
And with this, the contemporary sculptor plays off memento mori, the medieval Christian theory and contemplation of mortality that has long fascinated artists, from 17th-century sculptors like Bernini to painters like Picasso. The impressive scale and size of the sculptures dwarf visitors—each skull measures about 5 feet in height and the installation weighs a total of 5.5 tons. Engulfed in the sea of skulls, it's impossible to avoid the contradiction between the beauty of their form and the intensity of their significance.
Each hand-finished skull, cast in resin, is also a tribute to Mueck's artistic dedication to precision. The slight variations in form individualize each of the 100 skulls, adding his signature realistic touch to the surreal installation. Mass is just one of the pieces in the inaugural Triennial, which is hosting 100 artists from 32 countries. Twenty of the pieces, including Mueck's, were commissioned specifically for this ambitious exhibition, which runs through April 15, 2018.
Ron Mueck's Mass is his largest installation ever, composed of 100 hand-cast skulls.
Commissioned for the National Gallery of Victoria's International Triennial, each individual skull sculpture is 5 feet tall.
The skulls spill through the 18th Century Galleries, forcing viewers to confront their own mortality while viewing this incredible piece of contemporary art.
Watch NGV's director and senior curator speak about Mueck's monumental installation.
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My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by National Gallery of Victoria.
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