born Australia 1958, active London
Two Women, 2005
Mixed media, 85 x 48 x 38Collection Glenn Furhman, New York,
Courtesy The FLAG Art Foundation
No detail is neglected in this meticulously crafted, lifelike sculpture of two diminutive, wizened elderly women standing in conversation. Everything looks natural and ordinary, but on a weirdly reduced scale. Not only the women’s small size, but also their body language, facial expressions, and slightly shabby clothes project vulnerability and, ultimately, isolation.
By shrinking normal human dimensions while faithfully replicating every hair, pore, and wrinkle, Mueck draws us into an alternative realm of fairy tales and legends and causes us to lose our bearings. Two Women blurs distinctions between the real world and the world of the imaginary, between the natural and the artificial, and between originals and copies. The artist’s realism and hands-on technique hearken back to traditional artisanship and can be seen as a response to the electronic replications, cloning, and virtual reality of today.