Pregnancy and giant babies by sculptor Ron Mueck

After advertising on a pregnant belly, now take a short journey inside contemporary art. Ron Mueck is a fantastic hyperrealist sculptor. He began his career making puppets for children’s television, including a stint with Jim Henson and Sesame Street. And Mueck usually creates sculpts of pregnant women or giant babies. For a long time, I’ve been curious about why and how he makes this kind of works. So take a look at the images then I take you behind the scenes.

First, the making of the pregnant woman:

Pregnant woman is a contemporary portrayal of motherhood, making reference to universal themes such as fertility, birth, the goddess, the iconography of the Madonna and Child, and to life itself. Mueck’s ability to portray the monumentality and strength of a pregnant woman, as well as her vulnerability and emotional intensity, creates a powerful connection between the work and the viewer.

Mueck’s process and techniques are a source of fascination, particularly in relation to his meticulous observation of the skin’s surface: its pores, the follicles of hair, the softness of a mole, the hardness of a nail and the shadows of veins just beneath the skin. These are the things that draw viewers to Pregnant woman and make the sculpture seem so real.

Purchased with the assistance of Tony and Carol Berg 2003. © Ron Mueck


These days, Ron Mueck and his assistant Charlie Clarke work with Brooklyn Museum staff to install the exhibition Ron Mueck on view at the Brooklyn Museum, November 3, 2006–February 4, 2007.

baby1.jpg baby2.jpg

Above, my favourite images on the giant baby. You can even see the umbilical cord. But didn’t he choose photography?

Eventually Mueck concluded that photography pretty much destroys the physical “presence” of the original object, and so he turned to fine art and sculpture. In the early 1990s, still in his advertising days, Mueck was commissioned to make something highly realistic, and was wondering what material would do the trick. Latex was the usual, but he wanted something harder, more precise. Luckily, he saw a little architectural decor on the wall of a boutique and inquired as to the nice, pink stuff’s nature. Fiberglass resin was the answer, and Mueck has made it his bronze and marble ever since.

The Brooklyn version of the exhibition travels to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, February–May 2007.