The exhibition Real Life: Ron Mueck and Guy Ben-Ner showcases two important voices in contemporary art whose careers the National Gallery of Canada has been following in recent years. Real Life opens with works by the Australian-born, London-based sculptor Ron Mueck, from the National Gallery’s collection. Paired with Mueck’s highly acclaimed hyper-realist sculptures are video and installation works by the increasingly prominent artist, Guy Ben-Ner.
Israeli-born, Ben-Ner has been receiving international attention since he represented his native country at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Included in Real Life are two recent National Gallery acquisitions, Tree-house Kit (2005) and Stealing Beauty (2007). Taken together, the work of these two artists creates a narrative in Real Life about the contradictions of the human condition: the need to live collectively and responsibly while locked into our individual experiences and desires, and the blunt reality that birth and death mark moments of absolute separation.
Following Ron Mueck’s outstanding solo show at the National Gallery in 2007, Real Life offers Canadian viewers the opportunity to investigate this aspect of his production in greater detail by following his evocative sculptures on a journey from the beginning to end of life. At the same time, the exhibition serves to introduce a comprehensive selection from the exciting and original oeuvre of Guy Ben-Ner, works that humorously but critically engage the everyday dramas of real life, as our relationships with others, and ourselves, take shape.