The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Fiction from Mexico City

An Opinion on Ron Mueck’s “Hiperrealismo de Alto Impacto” Exhibition

 By Karenina Osnaya, Mexico (Published in Issue 13)

HYPERREALISM and Ron Mueck have been talked about widely in Mexico City recently. People want to know more about this genre of painting and sculpture that resembles a high resolution photograph. One of the purposes of hyperrealism both in sculpture and in painting is to explore the figurative representation, in a way that renders a realistic impression on people. In fact, so realistic, that the artist can claim the fact that the sculpture might as well become alive, or so is Mueck’s prerogative in his work.

The exhibition taking place at the beautiful Colegio de San Ildefonso was highly anticipated by the public, and highly praised, as was expected. A total of nine sculptures were brought for this exhibition, ranging from the gigantic woman in bed covered by a white sheet and the 3 meter plucked chicken hanging from the ceiling to the hand size newborn baby, or the tiny fat woman carrying a bunch of sticks on her hands. With this unconventional range of scales Mueck seeks to recreate the magnitude of human emotions in relation to the body, as well as by imitating the most subtle of details possible; the wrinkles, the hair, the unpleasant warts, everything is taken into consideration for this artist in order to create a bond with the reality. It is in fact due to these wonderfully depicted details that the public praise him as the high impact artist that he is considered to be. Every hair is where it should be, every wrinkle is carefully carved… and the reaction of the audience is usually the same “it looks so real”, they say, it DOES look very real, almost as real as you or I.

Yet, this visceral realism of Mueck’s sculptures did not move me or even disturb me in the very least, no questions on fundamental or universal concerns arose in me while watching any of his models, what it is to be a human? How isolated do we feel in our skins? How wonderful and divine is the human body? Should we expect these outcomes by going to an art exhibition on human representation? My answer is a resounding yes, just as we expect a painting from any of the Old Masters to move us to our very cores. High Impact? As the grand title of the Exhibition suggests, I don’t think so unless all you expect from an exhibition is a visual impact, rather than a cognitive one as well.

However, if you happen to be in town and you can spare 20 minutes (because that’s how long it will take you to look at this tiny exhibition) pay the $45 pesos for the entrance fee and take a good look at the plucked chicken, examine it thoroughly, and tell me if the rubber chickens that you see at prank stores are not equally as realistic as that one.