Royal Scottish Academy BuildingRoyal Scottish Academy Building

When I heard that an exhibition of Ron Mueck’s work was being held at the Royal Scottish Academy Building I checked the National Galleries of Scotland web-site. From the main page there is a link to a microsite and also a Podcurator from which you can get an insight into the show.

I don’t think that you can really appreciate the sculptures until you realise just how much work is involved in bringing them to life. To make sculptures, from say marble, you have to find the right size piece and just start chipping away. No doubt always aware that one tap too hard and you could sever the limb that you’ve just spent the last month carving. With these large pieces Ron would have to make test pieces out of clay, then a full size piece, again using clay, from which a mould could be made. It is from this mould that the finished piece would be created in fibreglass, painted and the hair added one follicle at a time.

Possibly I’m a little too clinical and logical. I was walking around thinking, “How are the pieces transported?”, “Do they wrap them in bubble-wrap?”, “How are the moulds made and then how are they removed?”, “Are they based on real people?”, “Does that woman in bed have ‘real’ legs?”, instead of just enjoying them for what they are which is wonderful, unique works of art.

The exhibition started on August 5th and finishes on October 1st. I’m really glad that I travelled to Edinburgh to see it before it moves on to Canada and America.

On my way out I did purchase a guide (a little late I know) and a larger book about Ron Mueck and his work. I wasn’t going to do the same trick that I did at the Sensation exhibition years ago. Look at the book of the exhibition, not buy it, regret not buying it for years afterwards then eventually buy it from Amazon.

Usually the HMV sale is a source of great amusement, generally because I’ve already purchased the items on sale months, sometimes years before, at the same price from sites on the internet. But not this time. I did make some DVD purchases that were in the £2.99 category. At that price you just can’t go wrong. You could never find the same discs on the internet for that price.

Scottish ParliamentScottish Parliament

After lunch I had a wander down the Royal Mile to see if I could find the new Scottish Parliament building. I remember seeing footage of it when it was opened a couple of years ago. Well, it’s different, that’s for sure. It certainly doesn’t look like the Houses of Parliament in London. Some of the windows are shaded with what looks like warped bamboo. Nothing seems straight and it seems to be built mainly from plain concrete. Possibly the architect tried too hard to be obscure. What it’s like to work in I can’t imagine.

Right next door to the Scottish Parliament is Dynamic Earth which I thought would just be underground caves. I remember thinking that with my claustrophobia and the fact that I’d seen The Descent a couple of times that it wouldn’t be such a good idea. But looking at the web-site now I wish I’d had a look around.

Back up the Royal Mile to Camera Obscura. This is Edinburgh’s oldest tourist attraction. The camera part is a rotating mirror, housed in a tower on the roof. This bounces the light down through a couple of lenses onto a white surface about the size of a dining table. All done in complete darkness of course as the guide turns the mirror around so that you can see 360° views of Edinburgh. The other four floors display various optical illusions, holograms and 3D photographs.