Ron Mueck’s astounding work

Want to know where you can be amazed, amused, disturbed, delighted and confused at the same time with no cost to yourself? Make sure you get on down to Manchester Art Gallery and catch Ron Mueck’s sculptures before Sunday 11 April 2010.

They are so astonishingly lifelike that you almost wonder if they are actually not sculptures, but real people. Did he blink? This despite the fact that Wild Man, 2005 is a giant, and Spooning Couple, 2005 consists of two tiny figures you could hold almost in the palm of your hand. You want to go right up to them and examine every hair on their bodies, every fold of skin. Yet such is the realism, it feel intrusive to do so! Shh! Don’t wake them!

In the adjacent room, are ten works from the Frank Cohen Collection. There’s the haunting Between Men and Animal (2005), an oil painting of laughing, mocking faces by Chinese artist Yue Minjun. You can’t fail to smile at a life-sized polar bear balancing upside down nose to nose on a little boy in the sculpture The Big Kiss, 2007 by Chen Lei. Again, this exhibition finishes 11 April.

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