About this artwork

Although Mueck’s sculptures are astonishingly lifelike (despite their scale!), apparent realism is not what ultimately matters to the artist, but the ends to which it is put. The artist wants us to believe that his figures are experiencing certain emotions and for us to empathise with these feelings. ‘Wild Man’ shows signs of extreme anxiety, even terror; he grips the stool and his toes press down onto the floor. The artist has made him look doubly vulnerable. Despite dwarfing us mere mortals who look at him – he is nearly three metres high – his state of ongoing fear elicits a sympathetic response from us. Instead of our feeling intimidated by him, he seems intimidated by us.

  • title: Wild Man
  • accession number: AR00034
  • artist: Ron MueckAustralian (born 1958)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Sculpture
  • subject: Young British Artists (YBA's)
  • date created: 2005
  • measurements: 285.00 x 161.9.00 x 108.00 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Ron Mueck
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Ron Mueck

Ron Mueck

Mueck gained international recognition in 1997 for his sculpture ‘Dead dad’ which was part of the infamous ‘Young British Artists’ ‘Sensation’ exhibition, devoted to the work of young British artists, at London’s Royal Academy. Mueck’s sculptures are all of the human figure, some smaller than life-size, some larger. In them he aims to capture the feeling of key moments in our passage through life. With their uncanny realism and minute detail, Mueck shocks us into reassessing ourselves. Born in Melbourne, Australia, Mueck began his career as a model-maker and puppeteer in childrens’ TV. In 1986 he moved to London and ten years later he devoted himself to making ‘fine’ art. In 2001 he exhibited the colossal 'Untitled (Boy)' at the Venice Biennale.