the making of Pregnant woman 2002
Ron Mueck in the studio working on the maquette for 'Pregnant woman'. Image still from 'Ron Mueck' video © Ron Mueck Courtesy of the National Gallery, London.
As a child, Ron Mueck experimented with puppetry and model making, influenced by his parents’ work as toy makers. Failing selection to art school, Mueck began to work as a window-dresser before progressing to make and operate puppet animals for children’s television programs. In America in the mid-1980s he worked on The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, before settling in London where he assisted with the special effects for the films Dreamchild (1985)and Labyrinth (1986). In the early 1990s he opened his advertising business but continued to make models as a pastime.
Mueck’s entrée into the art world occurred almost accidentally in 1996. The artist Paula Rego, who was also Mueck’s mother-in-law, asked him to create a model of Pinocchio for her to paint for the exhibition Spellbound at the Hayward Gallery, London. The work captured advertising tycoon Charles Saatchi’s attention, and he immediately commissioned Mueck to make four works including Dead dad. It was then included in Saatchi’s controversial exhibition Sensation at the Royal Academy, London, which travelled to Berlin and Brooklyn.
Mueck participated in the 2001 Venice Biennale where his work Boy became a talking point. He was also appointed Associate Artist at the National Gallery, London (2000–01), and made a series of works that showed his particular interest in representations of the mother and child, including Pregnant woman. His time at the National Gallery, London, culminated in an international travelling exhibition presented in Sydney, London, Berlin and Haarlem. Mueck lives and works in London.